Nerf Arm

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ctsamurai_9154.jpg
The tube is civilization!

"I am the foam of my sword.
Plastic is my body, and air is my blood.
I have ploinked over a thousand people.
Unknown to injury,
Nor known to realism.
Have withstood thumps to create soft weapons.
Yet, these hands will never hurt anything.
So as I play, UNLIMITED NERF WORKS."

Any logically less-than-lethal weapon which ends up being otherwise just as effective as its "real" equivalent. This could happen because the setting of the story (or the censor) does not allow a character to carry a "real" weapon.

In video games with changeable/upgradeable weapons, a Nerf Arm may be the weakest version of the weapon, but the only difference between it and its stronger alternatives is (usually) the number of hits needed to defeat the enemies, or in some case, being Lethal Joke Weapon if used properly.

Note that there can be some Truth in Television at work; A spud gun may not be a mortar, but it sure isn't Nerf, either. Simply being non-lethal is no indication of safety.

See also Improbable Weapon User, Statistically Speaking, Cherry Tapping. Closely related to—but not to be confused with—Nerf. Can overlap with Lethal Joke Character. A Subtrope is Wooden Katanas Are Even Better. Contrast As Lethal as It Needs to Be.

Usually done for the funny factor, whether the players are laughing as hard as the programmers depends on your sense of humor

Not to be confused with Numb Arm.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Motoko in Love Hina is one of many Kid Samurai whose wooden sword (bokken) is just as effective at dealing damage as a real katana, and sometimes more so.
    • Most versions of this are Memetic Mutations from Miyamoto Musashi, the greatest Japanese swordsman, using a wooden sword rather than a real one as a handicap so people wouldn't be afraid to spar with him. This sometimes ignores the fact that being hit with what's essentially an edged baseball bat still hurts. It's also less likely to break in combat, a common issue of the standard katana (though not so much in anime)
    • There is evidence that it was as much to keep his opponents alive so that he could then take them on as students as it was to show off his own skill. Only a handful of the duels he fought with bokken ended in death.
    • In one instance this was because he was answering a challenge held amongst a hostile clan, and wanted to get in and out inconspicuously to avoid a fight with the entire school. So he left without weapons, carved a bokken from an oar as he sailed there, arrived just as the challenger was expecting a forfeit, and killed him. Then ditched the wooden sword and slipped away on his boat.
  • Ranma
    • Likewise, Tatewaki Kunō's wooden sword is capable of cutting trees in half and shattering stone walls. But of course, any unarmed character can beat Kunō with their pinky finger...
    • In a later book of the manga, the "Kunoichi" Konatsu has to use a fake sword because he had pawned his metal sword. And he's deadly with it.
  • Twilight Suzuka in Outlaw Star also favors a wooden sword, and is capable of quite astonishing feats of mayhem with it, up to and including slicing an oncoming truck in half, though she describes that as "a mere feat of strength."
    • It does have one practical use: it's easy to sneak past metal detectors.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, this is subverted because when Utena brings a bamboo shinai to her first duel, her opponent mocks her for it and cuts the sword down to a stub. She gets a real sword in the very next episode — but not before beating her original opponent with the broken stub of her bamboo sword. In The Movie, she manages a decent fight with a broom, although she doesn't actually win until she gets a real sword.
  • Rurouni Kenshin's Reverse Blade Sword (sort of; it doesn't cut anybody, but it's still akin to clobbering enemies with a steel rod). Plus at least two other members of his entourage, Yahiko and Kaoru, use wooden or bamboo training swords. Hell, Kenshin wins a fight with a beach umbrella.
  • Sakata Gintoki from Gintama wields his wooden sword Lake Touya, which is able to smash through walls and even break conventional swords at times, due to being made from an ancient tree that's said to be as hard as metal. It's also a mass-produced mail-order product, which lets him replace it easily after the numerous occasions where it's been destroyed.
  • The Tournament Arc in Mahou Sensei Negima! disallowed bladed weapons, so Setsuna improvised with a deck brush. It was still effective thanks to her Ki. Oddly, an earlier preliminary match by the Kendo captain showed that Bokken were allowed.
    • Wooden swords don't really have a cutting blade, they are mainly for practice. So he was still within the rules.
    • Of course, the latter would have clashed with her adorable outfit....
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Isumi gives Hinagiku a bokken made by Masamune. It works on demons and has the usual powers a wooden sword has in anime, which is to say it can cut robots in half.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, the protagonist gets surrounded by a gang of mook girls armed with various weapons. The problem is that he Wouldn't Hit a Girl. Fortunately, in the last moment, Shigure comes to the rescue, but Kenichi wouldn't let her use sharp objects on the girls. So Shigure defeats them with a rice spoon.
    • She doesn't just beat them, she slices all their weapons to pieces with her rice spoon, and while she's at it she also cuts a series of lacerations into their outfits so that when they try to carry on the fight their clothing starts falling apart.
    • She later does this with a sword shaped videogame controller to the same group of girls, except this time the Clothing Damage was worse. She did remark on how much they had improved when their weapons weren't destroyed.
  • In Bleach, Madarame Ikkaku is told he's not allowed to carry a real sword while in the human world, so he uses a wooden one. He never cuts anything with it, but Ikkaku is anything but weak, and can still send someone flying with it.
  • Noir has one of the female leads snap off the leg of a mooks sunglasses before stabbing him in the brain with it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Kaiba uses duel monster cards as throwing stars. He will knock whatever you're holding out of your hand with them.
  • Kill la Kill gives us Sanegeyama's shinai, which he uses to curbstomp Ryuko with in their rematch, when she has an Absurdly Sharp Blade.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tangled has Rapunzel carry around a Frying Pan of Doom that she clocks Flynn with a few times. It becomes this trope when Flynn later finds himself fighting soldiers with it, and not only does it work well, it works better than their swords. The end of the film reveals that all the kingdom's soldiers apparently now carry frying pans.
    • Somewhat justifiable, in that plate armor is resistant to bladed weapons; blunt weapons are far more effective. However, it would make more sense for the actual soldiers to carry maces, flails, and war hammers.
  • In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the Joker has the choice to fight the Phantasm with either a giant, menacing, kitchen knife or a processed Bologna log. Guess which one he chooses.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bugsy Malone. Miniature mobsters with pie-throwing weapons—that have made pies obsolete as weapons.
  • In Shoot 'em Up, a mook gets killed with a frozen carrot through his eye.
  • The core heroes of Mystery Men have "superpowers" that are only mildly dangerous, like throwing silverware (but not knives), flatulence of doom, or being able to turn invisible if and only if nobody is looking at you. note  All of these become critically important in the endgame, of course.
    • Probably the most dangerous guy on the team is The Shoveller, then again shovels have been used as weapons since WWI.
      • Not to overlook the possessed flying bowling ball of vengeance.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, said Riddick kills using a teacup. Next, he implies that his next kill will be using what appears to be a disposable tin opener.
  • Jason Bourne once fended off an attacker with a rolled up newspaper.
    • Not to mention when he used a pen against an assassin.
    • There have in fact been cases of both items being turned into makeshift shivs in prisons. Newspaper would be dunked in water, then compressed as much as possible until hardened, then sharpened.
  • In Kill Bill Vol. 2, The Bride fends off Elle's Hattori Hanzo sword with - a broken TV antenna.
  • In the low-budget 70's movie Axe!, a group of gangsters bludgeon a man to death with a child's doll.
  • In Grosse Pointe Blank (which pre-dates the Bourne movie above), John Cusack's character uses a promotional gimmick pen (a Chekhov's Gun prop) to kill an assassin in a fight at his High School reunion. Complete with cool sword-drawing sound as he takes off the pen cap.
  • Part of the backstory of obscure fencing movie By the Sword is that a famous modern day fencing master and instructor found out that his best student was having an affair with the master's wife, responded by challenging the student to a duel, and died as a result. Only the student knows that the master gave the student a real, sharpened rapier while arming himself with only a blunt training blade, and proceeded to beat the student senseless with the training sword. The master only died because the humiliated student stabbed him In the Back when the master was finally ready to relent and show mercy. The student, finally released from 20 years in jail at the start of the movie, eventually winds up confessing all this to the master's son, who is also a fencing champion and instructor and who regards his father with some disdain because "he spent half his life winning fencing championships and then got himself killed the one time he was in a fight that really mattered".

    Literature 
  • Death's harvest scythe in Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man is a Nerfed version of his preferred weapon, but that doesn't stop him from taking out the New Death with it when sufficiently provoked. (In this case, it's only "Nerfed" in the sense that he made it by hand instead of calling it into existence by virtue of his powers of office; it's still sharp enough that the edge of it glows when he holds it up in a light breeze because it's cutting the atoms in the air into plasma.)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Game of Thrones both plays the trope straight and averts it in the same scene, featuring a sequence where swordsmaster Syrio Forel takes out five Mooks in seconds with a wooden practice sword. However, when he faces down an Elite Mook, who has plate armor protecting every possible weak spot (throat, groin, hands), immediately afterward, he's stymied.
      • Being a swordmaster, this is somewhat surprising, as one would expect him to be familiar with "half-swording" and the Mordschlag, or "murder stroke", which would have allowed him to use his sword as a make-shift club.
    • Played straight in the Hand's tourney. The lances used for jousting are deliberately Nerfed and shatter on impact to prevent death, but Ser Gregor manages to impale a knight through the throat with one anyway. As the Hound remarked afterward, "Gregor's lance goes where Gregor wants it to go."
    • Played with somewhat in one of the prequel Dunk and Egg stories. When facing what is essentially a Trial by Combat en masse, (seven guys representing one side versus seven for the other) Prince Baelor recommends that they use tournament lances as their weapons. When one of the other knights points out that tournament lances are made to break and their opponents will be using lances made for the battlefield, Baelor responds by saying that tournament lances are also much longer than war lances, and thus if the knights fighting for Dunk can hit the target accurately and knock their opponents off their horses, the fact that they're nerfed won't matter. The strategy proves somewhat successful, but several knights still die from wounds sustained from those war lances.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An early episode of Chuck features a fight between Sarah and Casey using plastic forks and corn dog skewers.
  • In the short-running TV series Martial Law, a belligerent man says to the main character, "I hear that you can make anything into a lethal weapon. Prove it." He then proceeds to hand him a chalkboard eraser, which Sammo completely KICKS HIS ASS with.
  • An early Get Smart case had Max and 99 fight off KAOS agents with toy guns after Max had expended all of his live ammunition to shoot out the lights. They not only escape, but use a toy missile to stun and capture the KAOS agents.
    Max: [T]he real credit belongs to these toys. After all, we had at our disposal every fiendish and destructive plaything ever devised for the pleasure of little children. Those poor devils, all they had were real guns and bullets.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of 3rdRockFromTheSun. Tommy and Harry are watching what's apparently a typical overblown martial arts action movie, and Tommy complains that it's totally unrealistic that the protagonist could take out twenty guys without getting injured. Harry replies that the protagonist has the advantage: "They're only armed with machine guns. He's got the broken pool cue."

    Tabletop Games 
  • The New World of Darkness Core Rulebook introduces the Weaponry skill with a short vignette about a young woman fending off an attacker...with an umbrella.
  • In the game Battletech, swinging the blown-off arm of an enemy mech can do more damage than firing a mid-grade or even high grade cannon, depending on your mech's size — for a lot less heat buildup.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • For most of the Destiny Island area of Kingdom Hearts, This is averted when Sora wields a wooden sword. It's so weak it doesn't even do damage to Shadows (the weakest enemies outside of Destiny Island). Oddly, when he takes up a wooden sword again near the end of the game, although it is much weaker than the keyblade he'd been using all along, it still is capable of dealing damage and even vanquishing the Heartless (Though they don't flinch when struck by it). Perhaps this is due to Sora being so very levelled up.
    • Ditto for the Struggle Bat Roxas uses in the virtual Twilight Town in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, each member of the Organization can equip 1-2 comical but nonetheless effective "joke" weapons. These include a sandwich, a broom, light bulbs, pizza, and a giant soup ladle. Also, Roxas uses a stick for one mission while Xion borrows his Keyblade.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the prize for making all the flavors of ice cream is a Keyblade called "Sweetstack". Said Keyblade is made of ice cream, and looks absolutely ridiculous. It also has a 100% critical hit rate, making it one of the most powerful Keyblades in the game, although its critical hit damage multiplier is pretty low.
  • The starting sword in the original The Legend of Zelda I is made of wood. (Or bronze. The graphics and dialog are too vague to completely rule out bronze.) Link also uses a wooden sword in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but for a significantly shorter period of time. The latter is almost certainly a Shout-Out to the former; other equipment you get in Twilight Princess by the end of the 'wooden sword part' include the Lantern (the first equipment you get in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) and the Slingshot (completely pointless except as a Shout-Out to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time once you get the bow).
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds brings back the Bug Catching Net. It can reflect the projectiles fired by one of the main villains. But probably not like in said game, the upgraded form is a fairly viable weapon to use against enemies, doing about the same amount of damage as the most powered-up version of the Master Sword. So for someone with good timing, you end up with a fairly viable melee weapon despite it looking utterly ridiculous.
  • Hyrule Warriors has an 8-bit weapon for every weapon type, meaning every character has at least one and some have several. For example, Darunia has a piece of Bait on a stick while Ganondorf has a pair of keys. Besides being at odds with the HD style of the game, they're ridiculously oversized to match the scale of the characters. They all share stats with the tier 3 version of the weapon they replace, and can have the ability to boost their strength to 450 like anything else.
  • In Tales of Symphonia Lloyd's starting weapon is double wooden swords. (The apparent wonky grammar is due to Lloyd's pairs of swords each being a single item in the gameplay mechanics.) In addition, each character has an harmless-looking joke weapon that is a top tier weapon for them — Lloyd's is a pair of Paper Fan of Doom.
    • Lloyd can also get a title for only using the wooden swords until a certain point in the game.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines takes this concept quite literally, as you can find a severed human arm and use it as a melee weapon. Interestingly enough, it's not even the game's weakest weapon but instead quite the damage dealer early on.
  • The MOTHER series. Baseball bats have always been a staple of The Hero, and The Chick usually fights with frying pans. What's more, everybody can equip slingshots and yoyos, and the characters with lethal weapons (Lloyd and Jeff's guns, Teddy's blades) start the game with nerf versions (airsoft guns and a butter knife, respectively).
    • This carried over into the heroes' appearances in Super Smash Bros.. series, with their forward smash attack being a bat or stick, and the Home Run Bat being one of the slowest but most powerful pickup weapons.
  • The main character in Chrono Trigger can equip a mop, which is treated as just a really weak sword.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, you can find certain goofy weapons for your characters, such as a parasol for Aeris, a mop for Cid, a boxing glove for Barret, etc. They're the most powerful weapons you'll find for a while, but the catch is that they have no slots for Materia. If you use them regularly, you'll be gimping your magic in the long run.note 
    • In Crisis Core, Zack goes to Costa del Sol and fights with an umbrella rather than his normal sword. However, since all his damage comes from his base stats and accessories, it's just as powerful as the Buster Sword.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Destiny:
      • The main character can also equip the deck brush he used to swab the decks in the beginning of the game, to the point where the Deck Brush has become his signature item (for example, used to create his costume transformation in Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon). The Deck Brush has become a recurring joke weapon in later games, like Loni's Deck Brush in the sequel, which boosts the chance of failure for his 15-kanji hi-ougi.
      • Equipping Mary with the Frying Pan in the PSX version gives her access to the move "Zan!", which is so powerful it was later made into a Mystic Arte.
    • Tales of Vesperia:
      • Judith can use two special joke artes by equipping the Deck Brush along with her maid costume. Both of them make her sweep the floor.
      • Estelle can get a cat teaser as a weapon, which replaces her standard burst arte with a joke one that makes her crouch down and start waving the cat teaser up and down as if to entice some invisible kitty. Each wave of the teaser will damage enemies touching it very slightly, and can actually combo some of them for a surprisingly long time, depending how much Estelle decides to wave it around. It's very likely to be interrupted if she's not using the invincible level four Overlimit, though. Amusingly, this becomes a surprisingly effective way of damaging enemies in the PS3 remake of the game, thanks to the new Burst Keep skill, which makes Overlimit last until a burst arte finishes. Couple this with the fact that Overlimit level four is invincible and prevents flinching from almost everything and the fact that Estelle can play with the cat teaser forever if nobody makes her flinch, and Hilarity Ensues.
      • There is a sidequest involving an eccentric inventor that ends up netting your party lots of useful goodies: the last part of the sidequest requires you to perform various tasks, like doing enough total damage during a single playthrough, fighting enough battles, carrying enough money, and running away from enough battles. As a reward, you get a shinai, a piece of grilled chicken made out of metal, a cat-teasing toy, a measuring tape, Heihachi's head made out stone on a handle with 765 Kg printed on its forehead, a deck brush, and a slingshot with a blade attached to it. They're still useful, since their attack strength is compareable to most other endgame weapons, and even if it wasn't, all of them still teach you unique skills you can't learn elsewhere. The cat teaser and the deck brush also have unique special attacks, the latter of which even has potential to do an easy infinite combo.
    • Tales of Graces is similar. In particular, Asbel's giraffe-sword is second only to his Infinity +1 Sword, which is obtained partway through the final dungeon.
    • Tales of Symphonia has an entire set of these. When you rebuild Luin past a certain point, the weapon shop goes from selling earlygame weapons to Lethal Joke Items including a plastic pink dagger, a pair of paper fans, a tambourine, a deck brush, a baseball bat, a bag full of money, and a squeaky toy hammer. These are only about three steps below the most powerful weapons in the game, but they still give you about +700 attack.
    • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology takes it to levels even more ridiculous than the Ranma 1/2 example, if not as over-the-top. A wooden sword you can buy early on is a step up from your starter weapon if you're a warrior — said starter weapon being an enormous one-handed axe.
    • Tales of Xillia has multiple ones. Aside from being the origin of the silly looking weapons like the giant Squid or a staff of a pointy finger, it also includes the Princess Plumelle item for Elize. It's a very pink, adorable staff... and her strongest wand in the game, not counting a powered up Devil's Arm for her.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 also rewards you with a very silly looking weapon for each of the party members upon finishing certain sidequests (examples include a pair of popguns and an omlette pan and spatula for Ludger, a giant paddle for Gaius, and an enormous grilled squid for Alvin). Similarly, they're just about the strongest weapons you have access to prior to beating the game, thanks to both their high attack power and special abilities, and in the case of the pan and spatula for Ludger, allow him to perform a special attack if he's wearing his chef costume.
  • Pretty much everything used by the "ninja," Frank, in Shadow Hearts: From the New World is some ridiculous object attached to a sword hilt. His ultimate weapon is literally a giant shish-kebob.
    • And before that, Covenant had Joachim using such weapons as a large segment of pipe, a rolled-up package of textiles, a locker, the desk of a wrestling emcee, a miniature skyscraper with actual miniature people in it that scream when he swings it, and a miniature nuclear submarine that was not only a Stealth Pun to the name of the developer but also contained enough firepower to sterilize the Earth of life (but was never used to do so due to a gentlemen's agreement).
  • An entire game was based around this trope: Nerf Arena Blast. The game played exactly like Unreal Tournament (the Unreal Engine is used), but with licensed Nerf guns in place of UT's usual ones, with the exact same functions. Players disappeared when their health hit 0, and there was no fragging.
  • A cheat in Hitman: Contracts can grant you a "Cardboard Tube" (in homage to the Penny Arcade example below) which the description lists as being "constructed from five-star ultra-dense musashi cardboard". Hitting an opponent with it sends them sailing in a nearly flat trajectory, usually only stopping when they strike an obstacle. Awesome.
  • Dead Rising has a literal Nerf Arm as a potential weapon: the Mega Buster fires little Nerf-like balls that do virtually no damage. One in-game achievement unlocks the Real Mega Buster, the Infinity +1 Sword of firearms.
    • There's also the Toy Laser Sword, which, other than cool lighting effects and pushback, does no damage at all. Getting an in-game achievement (different from the one above) gives Frank access to the Z-Saber, which looks exactly the same, but is beam death.
      • That is averted in the Wii version, where the sword actually kills many enemies in one or two hits. But it does break faster than most melee weapons.
  • The Keystone Kops in NetHack wield garden hoses as whips and throw cream pies; the latter are much more useful than they sound, as they can be eaten or used to blind enemies.
  • In Eternal Fighter Zero, Rumi Nanase uses a wooden kendo sword. Interestingly enough, her attacks do more damage than Mai Kawasumi's, even though the latter uses a real sword.
  • Almost half of the weapons in the humorous MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing are of this kind. While most of the silliest weapons (tiny paper umbrellas, balloon swords, squeaky mallets etc.) are pretty weak, a powerful character can still do massive damage with them, and some silly weapons (e.g. potato guns and cardboard swords) are actually quite effective.
    • Plus almost all the magic based weapons are cooking utensils. (Iron pasta spoon, Gnollish pie server, etc.) The reason for magical utensils? The magic-using classes are known collectively as "Chef-Magi."
    • The Clown Hammer is the very embodiment of this trope. "You hit (the monster) for X damage. SQUEAK! SQUEAK! SQUEAK! SQUEAK! SQUEAK!"
    • Kingdom of Loathing is in love with this trope. Even some of the familiars fit the definition: Teddy bears, Volleyballs, Balloon Monkeys, Baby Gravy Fairies, etc. Beware the Levitating Potato!
    • Ranged weapons seem to have a higher tendency to be silly. Among the ranged weapons with power 180 or greater (max power is 200) are a recordnote , a bag of candy, a Slinky, a bag of snowballs, a paddle-ball, a beer-slinging catapult, a beer bong, a guitar, a sitar, and a didgeridoo.
      • Yo-yos have become common enough ranged weapons to get their own classification.
      • Then again, 200-power melee weapons include a stick the arm of a demonic snowman, a definitely-not-a-Keyblade, a halibut, a lawn dart, a sword made of velcro, and a shoulder blade, with the duct tape sword not far behind.
  • In LEGO Star Wars, all weapons do the same damage (without extras on). This means you can slay Darth Maul with a teacup.
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness takes the cake for having its very own section, along with one extra joke weapon in each normal category which include floating cartoon bombs, boxing gloves, a badass-looking electric guitar, and of course...A deck brush, classed as a pole weapon, whose final charge attack is instead of a flashy attack or quick stabbing motion, involves Hector dash-sweeping in front of him for as long as you mash the triangle button. Not only a handy attack but a handy mode of transport, and with good aiming a great way to break open all those candle stands. Also the sweeping attack does almost as much damage as a normal attack, so with a familiar who boosts strength you can actually kill the wyvern boss by cleaning his back. Ooookay.
    • The Electric Guitar deserves special mention. Hector rocks out insanely, damaging enemies with waves of pure metal awesome, and it's actually a fairly strong weapon with a good area of effect. Used well, it can see you through a fair chunk of the game, and nothing beats blasting demonic enemies with the power of rock.
  • SoulCalibur 2 featured an entire class of joke weapons, one for each character. In addition to having bizarre effects and, in some cases, just looking completely ridiculous ("Link has a butterfly net, LOOK OUT!"), they also cause bizarre sound effects whenever they hit, turning every life or death battle into a laugh-fest.
    • Raphael's joke weapon, the Cane, actually produces cheering and applause when he successfully hits with it.
    • The above mentioned "Link has a butterfly net" may be homage to the SNES game A Link to the Past, In which it is possible to reflect Ganon's attack with said implement, and it actually HAD MORE RANGE THAN THE MASTER SWORD.
      • Within that same vein, you could reflect projectiles back in Ocarina of Time for both Phantom Ganon and the real McCoy with a freaking BOTTLE!
    • Joke weapons are more or less a staple of the SoulCalibur series at this point. They appear in the fourth game as well as the second. They also appear in the third one, but must be unlocked. Weapons such as a broom and dusters and the like.
  • World of Warcraft has brooms, pitchforks, broken bottles, rolling pins, and even fish as weapons. There don't usually have any stats on them and do very weak damage, but putting a fiery enchant on a broom and running around hitting stuff with a flaming broom of death is entertaining.
    • Though there was a long period of time where the best weapon for a rogue was the Barman's Shanker, essentially a smashed liquor bottle.
    • there are also this, this, and this.
      • On that last one, there's a whole subcategory of fishing poles in Wo W. It has to be equipped to fish with it, but sometimes bored PV Pers would equip it just so they can say they beat someone to death with a fishing pole. Mostly rogues, because it's the only two-handed weapon rogues can equip, aside from a Wrath of the Lich King weapon entitled "The Fire Extinguisher."
      • If you are fishing for any length of time while waiting for a queue to pop, expect to realise at some point that the reason your DPS is so low is because you have forgotten to re-equip your sword after entering the dungeon.
    • There is also the Mug o'Hurt and Hurley's Tankard. Probably the best item especially for Dwarf Rogues in the 40s for demonstrating Drunken Master brawling.
    • Played with in terms of the Soft Foam Sword toy. Despite being a foam sword, this toy is able to do near-lethal damage to non-elite enemies of "trivial" difficulty (that is, they would not give experience if you killed them). The key being near-lethal; the primary purpose of this weapon is to be able to weaken lower-level enemies without killing them, which is necessary for some low-level quests (and difficult to do on a high-level character, even with no equipment and Resurrection Sickness).
  • Fallout:
    • The first two games both have the Red Ryder Limited Edition BB gun, which has the same average damage as a sniper rifle with half the weight, a 50% faster fire rate, and a 100-round magazine. Its best use is putting someone's eye out (no coincidence, since it's a Shout-Out to A Christmas Story.)
    • Subverted with Fallout Tactics. One of the weapons you can find? A water pistol. And then you start finding jars of acid in your travels through the Wasteland.
    • Fallout 3
      • Rock-It Launcher, which allows the player to use all the clutter they've found in the wasteland as potentially lethal projectiles. Clutter such as forks, plates, ashtrays paper-money stacks, books... Teddy bears. You haven't lived your full Capital D.C. Wastelad experience until you applied Chunky Salsa Rule to someone's head with a plunger!
      • The Dart Gun, which looks ridiculous, considering a main part of its construction is a little toy car. It only does a small amount of damage due to its poison effect... and instantly cripples the target's legs, reducing their speed to a crawl. Make one and show it to your Deathclaw friends! One should also note that the poison damage caused by this weapon completely ignores armor, meaning it's just as effective on a raider as a guy in full power armor.
      • If you talk to "Biwwy" in Lamplight Caverns, he'll offer to give you a "Wazuh Wifle" for 500 caps. Seems ridiculous for something you probably already have multiple free versions of by that point, but then again, you should also have an ungodly amount of money and a high enough Barter skill to get it for half price at that point as well. Turns out, it really is called "Wazer Wifle" in your inventory, and you can repair it using other Laser Rifles. But, as it turns out, it's not just a Laser Rifle with a gimmicky name, it also has a higher damage than the standard Laser Rifle. Combined with the Laser's faster rate of fire, it becomes a highly viable alternative to the Plasma Rifle.
      • Completing Point Lookout's main quest line rewards you with the Microwave Emitter, which looks like the Mesmetron, but is much deadlier and bypasses armor as well.
    • Fallout 4:
      • The Rock-It Launcher's swole successor, the Junk Jet. Ever beanbagged a Super Mutant to death with pillows? Now you can!
      • The Nuka-World DLC gives players the Thirst Zapper, which is basically a water pistol. Not only is that water pistol effective against a boss with an electrically-overcharged suit of power armor, but it can be modified to use weaponized Nuka-Cola as a handheld explosive cannon. When used in conjunction with Nuka-Cola Quantum, its damage output rivals even the Fat Man, a weapon that launches miniature nuclear bombs!
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Much like Fallout 1 and 2's Red Ryder, New Vegas has the Abilene Kid Limited Edition BB Gun. It shares most of its stats with the regular BB gun... except for the ability to do 70 points of damage with a critical hit. Take into account that the weapon is silent (the only silent weapons more powerful with a crit are sniper rifles), lightweight, and has no Strength or Guns skill requirements to get maximum, that critical damage is not affected by weapon skill, and sneak attacks always being critical hits, and you've got an amazing weapon for a Courier with high Sneak but low Guns skill.
  • Mabinogi has a number of these as regular and event-specific weapons and armour. The regular ones are merely household implements like small hatchets, cooking knives, and musical instruments; but also include intentional weapons like large hatchets and wooden swords. They are weaker than your open-hand damage; but can be upgraded to do a reasonable amount of damage (although nowhere near as much as a regular weapon). Event-specific items often include cutesy weapons like the recent toy bow and arrow set and "cat paw club", a big furry cat paw on the end of a stick; and similarly cute armour and accessories, such as panda paw gloves, and various costumes. In most cases, they're of only average or worse effectiveness; although in a few (such as the cat paw club), they're fairly powerful. They typically come with limitations, however, in that they cannot be upgraded, enchanged, or repaired (all items wear out with time and use).
  • Illusion of Gaia's protagonist uses a flute as his sole weapon. (Not counting his ability to change into a buff armor-clad, sword-toting knight after travelling into space.)
  • Team Fortress 2.
    • The Scout has a fish that's equally effective as an aluminum baseball bat.
    • The Scout seems to get a lot of these in regards to melee weapon options. A candy cane? A tube of wrapping paper? A severed arm? All are viable weapons (to an extent). The devs seem to treat the melee weapon slot as the go-to for bizarre/unexpectedly lethal options, since things such as winter mittens, mail boxes, and icicles have also made appearances as reasonably dangerous implements.
      • In real life, Scout's bats are about as dangerous as Soldier's entrenching tool. Bats will shatter the skull or the long bones in limbs because they are functional clubs. It may be an idiosyncratic choice, but see Real Life, below.
  • In Assassin's Creed 2, due to a quirk or easter egg in the weapons system, you can knock someone down, pick up their broom from the ground, and use it just as effectively as any other one-handed-mace in the game.
    • The creators picked up on it too; in Brotherhood there is an Achievement for killing a guard with the broom.
  • The tool with the highest attack points in Rune Factory is... your watering can. They lampshade this in the sequel, in which your strongest tool is your fishing rod. Also, the Back Scratcher in Rune Factory 2.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured a purple double-ended dildo (which can be found the Los Santos Police Station Showers among other places) as a surprisingly strong melee weapon.
    • And it can be given as a gift to your girlfriends. Same with a secret silver vibrator that can be found in the northern most town of Boone County.
  • Saints Row: The Third sees GTA's entry and raises Up to Eleven; the Penetrator is a three foot long purple jelly dildo with a bat handle. And Jiggle Physics.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind gives us the Fork of Horripilation, which not only is the worst weapon in the game, but drains 200 magicka. It's useful for an interesting side-quest though. There's also the miner's pick, which is rather heavy and not much more effective (and not quest related...).
  • Persona 3 has a joke weapon for each weapon type, but some of them (the Toy Bow especially) can be acquired early enough that they're not jokes at all, and can serve well for a long stretch of the game. Less nerfy, but still somewhat in the spirit of this trope, are the starting weapons in Persona 4, like the protagonist's golf club, Yosuke's wrenches, and Kanji's folding chair. The protagonist can also get some Awesome, but Impractical baseball bats, which have high power but terrible accuracy.
    • In Persona 4: Arena, most of the characters use their proper weapons (Yu's katana, Naoto's revolver, Akihiko's fists, etc) but Kanji still uses the folding chair. His attacks are still some of the most damaging in the game. In the sequel there's also Rise, who has never fought before and doesn't even have a Persona with combat abilities, but can stand against the others with a microphone stand and J-pop.
    • Becomes a Justified Trope Persona 5. The Phantom Thieves fight with replica weapons and model guns, but they cause real damage due to the Your Mind Makes It Real nature of the mental world. As long as the Shadows think the weapons are real, they can be hurt by them.
  • In the first Sengoku Basara or Devil Kings the strongest weapons are also the joke weapons. So you can get things like Toshiie impaling mooks with a swordfish, Shingen hammering people with a giant party fan and Mitsuhide maiming soldiers with oversized cutlery. Each game has his set of joke items, making this option possible.
  • Discussed in Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard when enemies from a Nerf-like game have broken into the game you're in. Matt asks why he should be scared of people with water guns, until his Voice with an Internet Connection points out that it's going to hurt just as much because they still do hit point damage. When Matt takes their water pistols, they function like this against enemies... except against the ones from said game, which invert which weapons are considered the Nerf Arm.
  • Kain can replace his Soul Reaver with a cardboard tube in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, through the use of a cheat code. When entered, Kain says "Fear the tube." While it was initially suspected to be a reference to Penny Arcade, it was revealed to be a coincidence.
  • League of Legends: As a sort of Self-Imposed Challenge, Jax is armed with a brass lamppost. He lampshades this in his joke emote:
    Imagine if I had a real weapon!
    • Jax's skins maintain this theme; weapons include a hockey stick, a board with nails in it, a fishing rod, a cardboard tube, and a trophy cup on a stick, and Riot has stated at least once that the seemingly real weapons of his remaining skins are actually made of foam.
  • The Disgaea series tends to have these crossed with Lethal Joke Item. There are some ridiculous looking weapons available such as brooms, fish, tambourines, tennis rackets, etc. However, they can be quite dangerous because A) each joke weapon contains a specialist found nowhere else that can do things like cause status ailments or never miss, and B) the Item World system means that pretty much any item can become an Infinity +1 Sword with time and effort.
  • Severance: Blade of Darkness allows you to dismember opponents and then use their arms as weapons. Zombies don't have to die before their arms come off, so you can actually kill them with their own arm. Not as effective as regular weapons due to the lack of special attacks, but still potentially useful if you somehow find yourself without a real weapon. You can also throw heads, although they do very little damage.
  • Fire Emblem Heroes: Spring Xander has a carrot lance, while Spring Camilla and Spring Lucina use eggs instead of tomes to cast magic. They are just as strong as their normal weapon equivalents.
  • In Angband, a few of the literal Poison Mushrooms can do considerable damage to enemies when thrown at them.
  • In Bayonetta 2, completing all the chapters on 3rd Climax (Hard) unlocks the final weapon: A Chain Chomp. An actual living Chain Chomp straight out of Super Mario Bros. that's chained up to Bayonetta's leg. Crazy as it sounds, it makes for a powerful mix of an Epic Flail that'll smack angels and demons flat and an Angry Guard Dog that'll bite them into submission. And the best part about it? Not even Rodin, who makes a living from taking down demons and turning them into weapons for Bayonetta and is very much one of the biggest badasses of the series, could tame this beast!
  • Crackdown had a joke weapon in the form of a rubber duck that could be thrown at enemies. Crackdown 2 made it lethal by turning it into the strongest grenade in the game. It's even better when you realize that its eyes glow red and it quacks.
  • Dark Cloud: In the sequel's Island King, the sword with the absolute highest attack stat (but lacking the combo speed of the Chronicle 2), is... a really sharp, ridiculous-looking Tiki mask with a pinwheel attached.
  • Dead Space 2:
    • The Hand Cannon is a giant red foam finger worn over Isaac's right hand. It cannot be upgraded with power nodes, and when "shot", Isaac yells out "Bang! Bang!" or "Pew! Pew! Pew!", depending on which mode of fire you use. It has no laser targeting like the other weapons, and all in all, it seems like just a silly gag item, until you point it at a necromorph and "shoot" it, which causes instant death and severs every limb from said necromorph. It runs on infinite "ammo" and never needs to be reloaded, and shoots as fast as you can click your mouse. Unfortunately, you have to beat the game on Hardcore difficulty first, making it a Bragging Rights Reward as well.
    • It makes a return in Dead Space 3, except this time as the Devil Horns. Much like its predecessor, it's a Bragging Rights Reward, obtained for beating Classic Mode. It does all the same things the Hand Cannon does, except when you "reload," Isaac will headbang to a sick guitar riff.
  • Dragon Age: Origins':
    • DLC "Feastday Pranks" has the Butterfly Sword, with the special properties "Rainbow Power" and "Attracts Butterflies". It happens to be a decently powerful blade for the early stages of the game. If you happen to use greatswords or don't mind the -50 approval hit that Sten, the intended recipient of the blade, will take, it's actually useful.
    • The sister DLC "Feastday Gifts" are also extremely useful from a Relationship Values standpoint. Gifting a companion with their unique gift from the DLC pack will instantly bring their approval up by 50 points. And just like that, you don't have to worry about Morrigan hating you every time you act like a decent person!
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    • After completeing 'Inquisition Needs BEEEEEES', a quest given by Sera, the inquisition gets grenades and schematics for 'A Jar of Bees', which seems lame at first, but the damage over time these things inflict is no joke, and at their best can force a dragon to stay on the ground while shaving away a good chunk of its health.
    • Completing Lord Trifles Minutiae's Pop Quiz sidequest gets you a giant spoon. Yes, a giant spoon. That you use as a weapon. That makes enemies explode on death.
    • The Wedge of Destiny is a shield that's... a cheese wheel. Literally a giant, massive cheese wheel. With the paring knife still stuck in it. And it's not actually a bad shield for the early mid-game.
    • The Jade Ham from the Jaws of Hakkon DLC is a carved ham roast stuck on top of a stick. It's one of the best one-handed weapons in the entire game. (Notably, you can put a magical rune on your ham roast to upgrade it. The weapon also has a chance to inflict poison, which has some less savory implications.)
  • The Dragon Quest series; Naughty/Sexy Underwear, an "armor" item for the girls that appeared through some iterations of the series; although the joke is only in the nature of the item, as its effects and atributes are generally great, making it a great equip. Also, due to the blatant name, and its implication of the wearer venturing the land in nothing more than sexy lingerie, the item is widely referred in Fanarts and Doujinshi.
  • In Drakan: The Ancient Gates, if you find and defeat a secret giant chicken, you unlock the lethal joke weapon, The Chicken, which is... well... a rubber chicken that is tied for the most damage in the game.
  • Doom:
  • Skyrim: The Hearthfire expansion adds the wooden sword to the list of equipable weapons. Yes, it is a kid's toy. Yes, it does next to no damage. Yes, your one-handed skill still has an influence on how much damage your toy sword can do. Yes, it can be upgraded like any other sword. Yes, it can also be enchanted. Which means that a player with maxed-out One-Handed, Smithing and Enchanting skills (and optionally assorted buffing jewelery and potions) can still slaughter dragons with a wooden sword.
  • In Fable I, completing a treasure hunt sidequest gives you access to the potentially most powerful weapon in the game: the frying pan, which is slightly underpowered for a legendary weapon but has five augmentation slots, relative to one or at most two found on most weapons. However, if the player simply uses a guide to find out where the pan is buried without finding all the maps, this is a regular Joke Item.
  • Godzilla includes various Atomic Breath options with differing range and power. Among the options are the infamous puny smoke rings that Minilla could shoot. Though middling in range, their hitting power is lethal, and in conjunction with grappling an opponent, can bring their lifebar down by around 75%.
  • Hedgewars follows the steps made by Worms when it comes to ridiculous powerful weapons. Bazooka? Shotgun? Desert eagle? Pff. Watermelon, a piano, a colorful ball launcher, or a birthday cake, among others? Consider yourself dead!
  • The rubber chicken in Highlander: Last of the MacLeods for the Atari Jaguar CD. It has longer range and does twice as much damage as an actual sword, and is the only weapon in the game that's worth a damn.
  • The Amiga science fiction action game Hired Guns has a banana as one of the weapons that you can acquire. It's the most powerful weapon in the game.
  • In Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green, the kung-fu fists are so powerful (and fast-firing) they are also a Game-Breaker. After finding them in a closet in your murdered neighbor's house, the game becomes a breeze, even with mods that add several thousand zombies, or turn your character into a One-Hit-Point Wonder. After getting the kung-fu fists, the only difficult mission is "Heavy Gunner", because you are given a minigun and must use it instead of the kung-fu fists.
  • Magna Carta 2 has the 1000 Ton Hammer, a weapon for Argo. It is a massive black hammer with the words "1000 TON" written on it, with flying birds above it to slam down upon enemies.
  • In Monster Hunter several weapons are made out of fish. These include a large tuna repurposed as a BFS, a Longsword with an eel-like fish for a blade, and a stuffed shark mounted on a stick as a Lance — with a ''no swimming'' sign as its accompanying shield. Said weapons also happen to have some of the highest Ice and Water Elemental damage stats in the games.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath Of Malachi: You start the game with only your fists. Most players will probably forget about this "weapon" in the first 10 seconds of the game, which is precisely how fast you will find the sword. Hilariously, the fists are actually the best way of killing single monsters throughout most of the game. Attacking with fists hits the monster so rapidly that you will stun it faster than it can recover, so you can stun-lock and pummel it until it's dead. It isn't until late into the game that you start encountering rare monsters with which this tactic doesn't work, like Demons (they CAN actually recover fast enough to hit you between your punches), or Demodus (can simply fly out of your reach).
  • Resident Evil 5 has Rotten Egg that damages you if you try to consume it. However, if you throw the egg at enemies, it does massive damage to them and can kill them instantly if they're weak enough! Rotten Eggs are also worth a lot of money when you sell them.
  • Slash EM, a NetHack variant, contains a similar weapon: the Houchou, which is a spoon that can be thrown for instant kills. However, it breaks after use, possibly making it Too Awesome to Use.
  • Star Trek: Klingon Academy features a Flying Saucer (as opposed to the ones the Federation uses) as an Easter Egg. It fires a Death Ray, and a Radioactive Cow Launcher. It sounds funny, but these weapons can tear through bigger ships in seconds, and the saucer has the maneuverability of a flitting fly.
  • In Strike Force Heroes 2, you can get two secret weapons from the Slot Machine by getting three piles of crap, which usually gives you a joke item of the non-lethal variety, but these two weapons are pretty good.
    • Number 1: The Sheep Cannon. 4 shots, high homing, high damage, and stick to enemies before exploding.
    • Number 2: The Doody Launcher. Just as high damage, slows down enemies, mades a weird fart noise, and makes them visible on your radar.
  • In The Suffering:
    • There's a secret weapon which is... a chicken. Which shoots eggs. Which are one hit kills and pretty much cut whatever they hit to ribbons. The only drawback is that you aren't about to be finding eggs scattered across the haunted prison to replenish your ammo.
    • Likewise, in The Suffering: Ties That Bind, you can, through a convoluted series of hidden events, obtain a giant plastic cocktail sword that even has a giant olive attached to it. It acts as a melee weapon and does very high damage; unfortunately, it's not a one-hit-kill weapon, uses up a weapon slot, and melee combat with the later enemies in the game is kind of suicidal.
  • Super Mario RPG has Star Egg, would you expect 3 starfish dancing culminating with a bird flying by? Regardless, it's still the funniest way to inflict at least 100 points of damage on your enemies.
  • Terraria:
    • The Meowmere, which is actually one of, if not the highest DPS melee weapon in the game, which is saying a LOT considering all the kinds of weapons in the game. The sword itself has a cat face on the hilt and shoots cats with rainbow trails, and even makes cat noises and everything. The Terrarian can also be considered one to a lesser extent, as it's just a yoyo, but also is an endgame melee weapon with massive DPS (second only to the Meowmere), especially when combined with the Yoyo Bag. The same can be said of the rest of the yoyo weapon class.
    • The firework rockets sold by the Party Girl are a primarily visual effect furniture...that happen to deal 150 damage to whatever they hit. With proper planning and timing, it is possible to use them to kill the Final Boss Eldritch Abomination in 3.5 seconds.
  • Ultima VII has:
    • The Hoe of Destruction. Let all foes fear the power of your gardening tool!
    • Dirty diapers. Applying a dirty diaper upon an enemy would instantly rout him, thus making even nasty spellcasters easy pickings.
    • A number of the most powerful weapons and armor in Ultima Underworld 2 look exactly like some of the weakest. Examples: the Axe of Smiting (a hatchet), a cudgel that opens all doors, and a leather vest that makes you immune to fire.
  • In Xenoblade, defeating the Bonus Boss of a long sidequest arc rewards you with two weapons for Riki. One of them looks like an oversized half-eaten fish, and it just so happens to be one of Riki's best weapons. This in contrast with the other weapon: A Joke Item with an impressive damage range of 1-1.

    Webcomics 
  • Penny Arcade's "Cardboard Tube Samurai" strips recast Gabe as a wandering samurai in feudal Japan... only, instead of a katana, he wields the titular cardboard shipping tube.
    • Yoshimitsu gets it in a special alternate costume in Tekken 6.
  • The webcomic Sluggy Freelance had a storyline where alien invaders with Bizarre Alien Biology were violently allergic to Nerf toys, both weapons and non-weapons. Their world domination strategy started with the infestation of Santa Claus, who the aliens mistook for Earth's biggest arms dealer.
  • In Adventurers!: The dreaded newspaper.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the Doc mocks his parents' story of their family's origins, pointing out the ludicrousness of using frozen shamrocks as shuriken. Needless to say, he himself must resort to using the very same against some pirates later in the story.

    Web Originals 
  • There's always a few gag weapons such as this in Survival of the Fittest, though with some of them it is possible to kill an enemy with some creativity.
    • A kill was made in v3 by smashing an ocarina in the victim's face, then stabbing him in the neck with a broken shard and knocking him off a cliff.
  • In Nuklear Age, during a D&D parody arc featuring the main characters lost in a mall, three characters are forced to take up arms to defend themselves against hordes of small, toy-crazy children. Their weapons of choice? A foam ax for the berserker, a kid's magic kit for the acting mage, and a foam shield and sword for the leader.
  • Demise, the super-assassin from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, once used a paperback book and a rubber band to kill one of her targets.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd sometimes uses a Zapper as if it were a real gun.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Invoked by Linkara's "Arsenal of Freedom" which is made up entirely of toys and prop replicas; handwaved in that they turn out to be enchanted to work like their "real" counterparts.
  • SCP Foundation's Mobile Task Force Omega 7 Incident Log mentions that SCP-076-2, being The Juggernaut that he is, once broke a man's jaw with a Nerf sword when he got bored without a fight.
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Has a broom capable of dealing damage to an omniscient being, and an extremely overleveled weapon that is... a fish wrapped up in a newspaper.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, one weapon is a giant nerf pointing hand, with which one pokes people. In one fight, the "hand" was pulled off of its handle, only to reveal an actual sword. Despite this, the party holding the sword declared himself to be defenseless and jumped off the whale/ship.
  • Similar to Flapjack example, Johnny Test had an episode where wooden swords had Audible Sharpness when used against metal ones.
  • South Park spoofed this trope in the episode that mocked Steven Spielburg's decision to replace guns with walkie-talkies in his re-release of ET. Here, the cops shoot weapons that look and sound exactly like walkie-talkies...and which have the same effect on that which they're targeting. Taken to an extreme when they do the ET style re-release for Saving Private Ryan.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door had an episode where Numbuh 1 was being targeted by the rest of the KND and he didn't have access to the regular 2X4 technology so he substituted with whatever was lying around. Most notably his mail, like an actual letter in an envelope. The mail came in handy for him figuring out the episode's plot.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, we have the episode "Over A Barrel", In which pony settlers fight off a stampeding herd of buffalo... with apple pies. The pies apparently hit with enough force to knock a charging buffalo flat.
  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory focusing on Dee-Dee involved her paper route running into competition from ninjas. Rolled-up newspapers were used as sword analogues, complete with a failed ninja committing seppuku at the end by whacking himself in the face.
  • Justice League: Toyman uses weapons like suction-cup darts and nerf bullets, which produce very real explosions.

    Real Life 
  • Miyamoto Musashi. In 1612 he fought a duel with a bokken he had carved from an oar while waiting for his opponent — and killed him very shortly.
    • Don't underestimate the power of wood. There is a reason why the Australian Aborigines make weapons from it. Oh sure, you might laugh at those small wooden ones that come back after you throw it but otherwise wouldn't do much more than stun a rabbit — but then there are the other kind that don't come back. On account of being stuck in someone's ribcage.
      • The same reason bows are usually made from wood. Wood usually combines high tensile strength with a certain amount of flexibility (how much depends on the type of wood). This also explains why trees are usually still standing after heavy storms that utterly devastate human constructions (which are insufficiently flexible). When trees fall down it's either because they got uprooted, or because the forces exercised on them were greater than that particular tree could withstand (which may mean the tree was in a bad condition in the first place).
    • Bonus points for Musashi having commented upon that beforehand with his famous line "The sword is absolute" (said in reference to the lethality of a sword even in "friendly" duels, and meaning that it's the techniques of the swordman what matters for his lethality, not the quality of his sword or even if the swordman actually has a sword in his hand to begin with).
  • Baseball (and cricket) bats generally aren't this trope. They are a club by any definition; just because they're not labeled as one, doesn't mean they're not exactly identical to any historical weapon of war in functionality. In particular, the aluminum baseball bat used in North American college and lower baseball/softball is perhaps the most deadly club ever designed: it's very strong, extremely lightweight, superbly balanced, and easy to be lethally used by anyone older than about 8. There's a reason that carrying a bat towards the pitcher's mound is an extremely serious offense in organized baseball, resulting in instant ejection and a possible ban. Not to mention that use of one in a crime is considered a "deadly weapon", putting it on par with a sword or other weapon of war.
    • Perhaps most importantly, with respect to this trope, is that an opponent wielding a baseball bat will immediately be recognized as a threat, and taken seriously, and thus, is not this trope.
  • The tessen — better known as an iron fan, or Japanese war fan — was given metal rods instead of wood or bamboo ones. However, it was always made to look like any old fan. Several legendary warriors of Japan were said to be so skilled in using them, that they could fight a samurai armed with a sword or spear and win. Not only that, someone skilled in Tessenjutsu, the martial art of wielding fans created for tessen, can use a regular fan as a lethal weapon. It's said that people would learn it so they could be armed in a place where weapons weren't allowed. Seriously, who'd take an old man's fan away on a hot day?
    • A samurai's wife would also be taught to wield a tessen... In case she couldn't take her trusty Blade on a Stick, that is.
  • Cane-Fu.
  • US Army Rangers have a small shovel as part of their kit. While it's an ordinary (if well-made) shovel, they can chop a man's head in half with it.
    • The military Entrenching Tool has a long and proud history as a close quarters weapon. Several WWI and WWII-issue models were designed with edges that could be sharpened, producing a crude axe with better reach than a knife but more close-quarters utility than a fixed bayonet.
      • In 2010 they still make them, they still issue them, and infantrymen still sharpen the edges in order to be able to use it as a makeshift battleaxe in CQB. And infantry training, at least in the US Army, still includes systematic training in its use as a melee weapon.
      • It all started with Roman legions...
    • Humble Lobo... We heart you so...
  • Many boffer LARP groups have strict regulations on weapon crafting. Materials like wood, metal, and some kinds of plastics are banned because of the risk of them breaking and piercing through the foam padding, possibly into someone and resulting in injury or death. The most popular materials instead are PVC, bamboo, and graphite fiber rods.
  • The vast majority of injuries in fencing are due to folks crashing into each other or twisting an ankle. The only reason jackets are worn is because blades on very, very rare occasions snap (and also because being poked repeatedly with stiff bits of metal hurts). If this happens, it's often user error. It also results in a very jagged piece of metal which can wound or kill an opponent. Historically, the methods of nerfing (back then, they called it "foiling") lethal swords was remarkably unreliable. Plenty of foiled weapons accidentally (or "accidentally") killed someone.
  • "Less-Than-Lethal" or "Less-Lethal" weapons can and have caused deaths due to bad luck, bad design, or improper usage. Rubber bullets and blanks can both be deadly at close ranges, tasers and stun guns can unintentionally cause heart attacks, people can have very nasty reactions to tear gas or knockout gas and so on. Hence the Insistent Terminology.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NerfArm