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"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 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 (its Super Trope) for calm collected individuals, or The Lancer.

Polearms are extremely effective weapons, and are arguably the easiest one to wield for non-combatants/beginners. 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 (similar to how modern soldiers use a pistol as a sidearm, but generally some kind of automatic rifle as their primary weapon). 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.

In older or more primitive settings, early spears with tips made out of stone, bone, or obsidian will likely be seen in the hands of the Noble Savage. Due to the nature of these settings (where swords haven't yet been invented), the character wielding the spear is much more likely to be The Hero than a mook or supporting character. Primitive shortspears, such as the African Iklwa, evoke similar imagery as swords for the time period, and thus are often wielded in a similar way by The Hero.


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, and in the hands of skilled and disciplined troops, make a formation almost unbreakable in a head-on fight.

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, Prongs of Poseidon, Javelin Thrower and Telephone Polearm, for the giant-bladeless-stick version.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bleach:
    • Madarame Ikkaku's Hōzukimaru, which doubles as a three section staff.
    • Lisa Yadomaru's Hagurotonbō is one as well and It's huge.
    • Sokyoku is a huge execution halberd.
  • In Brave10, Jinpachi is the team's spear-wielder. In the tournament arc of the sequel, more spear users appear, including Komatsu, who naturally has a naginata, and Oniwa Tsunamoto with a short spear and Date Shigezane with a long spear, both of whom Jinpachi has to take on at the same time.
  • Several Knightmares in Code Geass are equipped with a lance.
  • Daitarn 3: The "Daitarn Javelin" attack. Daitarn 3 pulls a four pointed spear. It can be used for jabbing or tossing at long-range foes.
  • Digimon as a whole has a wide a sortment of Digimon who wield such weapons: Chaos Gallantmon, Gallantmon, Examon, Grey Knightsmon, and Sandiramon use Lances; Craniumon, Crescemon, Dark Knightmon, Gallantmon: Crimson Mode, Jager Dorulumon, Lowemon, Neptunemon(surprisngly doesn't wield a trident), Piximon, Shoutmon DX, and Shoutmon X 3 S D use Spears; Ice Leomon-X uses a Pike; Cres Garurumon uses a Guangdao; Ophanimon wields a Javelin; Sistermon Blanc wields the Arrow Cross (which despite the name is less of an arrow and more of a Trident) and Ancient Mermaimon and Dagomon wield Tridents.
  • 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.
  • 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 polearm similar to the naginatea but has a shorter shaft.
    • Riichiro Hanamura and the former Shujin Ryu members are equipped with "Polearms" or halberds, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • In InuYasha, the leader of the Shichinentai, Bankotsu, wields a polearm named Banryu. It resembles a nagamaki but its blade is straight. Princess Abi wielded a trident 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.)
  • Atena from Kamui Den is a naginata master.
  • Ryuu-oh Ryoma's weapon in Legend of Heavenly Sphere Shurato is a trident.
  • Prince Hakuryuu of Magi favors a Chinese-style guan dao.
  • Erio Mondial of 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.
  • Swim Swim in Magical Girl Raising Project uses an unbreakable halberd as her weapon. She names it Ruler after her former leader. After Swim Swim dies, Snow White takes Ruler as her primary weapon.
  • 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.
  • In Mai-Otome, Tomoe Marguerite gets a standard spear once she obtains her Valkyrie Meister Robe.
  • Balsa the Bodyguard from Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, 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.
  • 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.
  • Shiina from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu? studies the naginata.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ranma ½
    • 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, the only weapon Soun Tendo will reach for is a yari 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.
  • 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.
  • Sailor Moon has Sailor Saturn and her Silence Glaive, which can cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • 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 warrior 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.
  • Shichiroji from Samurai 7. In combat he uses a type of spear; the only samurai not using a sword.
  • Tao Ren wields a guan dao early on in Shaman King before he switches to a sword.
  • Nadeshiko from Shugo Chara! uses a naginata when she does a Character Change with Temari.
  • 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.
  • In the first Tenchi Muyo! movie, when Achika gets the Tenchi sword, it seems to extend to naginata-like lengths.
  • 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.
  • Tower of God: Rak's epic 5 meter lance. [1]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Beast Spear in Ushio and Tora which goes through steel and youkai like a hot knife through warm butter, but doesn't harm humans. Ushio uses it more like a staff whenever Tora gets uppity. It 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.
  • In Utawarerumono, Benawi is known for using a halberd in battle.
  • Hak uses a guandao in Yona of the Dawn.

    Comic Books 
  • In Supergirl story The Supergirl from Krypton Wonder Woman uses a spear to fight, and Big Barda wields a halberd.
  • Toyota from Y: The Last Man dual wields naginatas, which eventually ends up backfiring against her when the Action Girl defender (who was tied up at the time) gets a chance to swipe one and face her off in a duel.
  • 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 edged weapon of his own design called the 'Devil's Fork', which most resembled a short-staffed naginata with two parallel blades, which could be briefly electrified to do extra damage. Christine Spar used Rose's weapon and costume (stolen from a museum) when she became the second Grendel, and Eppy Thatcher (the fourth primary Grendel) wielded a similar fork, additionally mounting remote 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
  • DC's Aquaman wields the Trident of Neptune, an ancient relic made by the first king of Atlantis. It allows him to command the sea, control weather, shoot energy blasts, and set up forcefields. The trident is also indestructible, and has even wounded Darkseid, who is virtually a god.
    • Aquaman's nemesis and half-brother, Ocean Master, gets a trident which boosts his already-impressive magic capabilities. It's given to him by the demon Neron, in exchange for his soul.
  • Marvel's Thor's father Odin owns Gungnir, a mighty magical spear with which he channels his Odinforce powers. It's made out of the same starmetal as Mjölnir, Thor's hammer.
  • 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.
  • The Transformers: Combiner Wars: Afterburner and the Camien Security Force all wield giant spears as their primary weapons. Camien Society feels projectiles are wasteful, so melee weapons are the norm. In The Transformers: Windblade Chromia's primary weapon was a pole-axe, but as she was a Combat Pragmatist she switched over to using a gun quickly.
  • As Red Robin Tim added a retractable blade he can use in a desperate situation, like against the nigh invulnerable Goliath, to his Telescoping Staff.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Empress Rayana is seen brandishing a naginata in a piece of fanart. She seldom uses it, though, since she is a very powerful sorcerer.
  • 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 Nightmare's Return: Nightmare Moon's Weapon of Choice is a double-tipped spear.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, one of the many, many ways that C'hou is different than before is that the guards on the wall of the city of Tevri'ed wield pikes.
    • Actually, “guard,” “wall,” and “Tevri'ed” are also ways that C'hou is different.
  • Robb Returns: Otherbane, the ancient spear of the Gardener Kings, found in Horn Hill's (House Tarly's keep) armory, is just one of the many ancestral weapons being rediscovered over the story.
  • In Inverted Fate, Undyne still uses spears regularly, including several new types, despite the fact as the Royal Scientist she has created various weaponry to use against Frisk.

  • 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 spear Gungnir, which aside from being a magical weapon, is also the symbol of Asgardian kingship.
    • When Odin falls into an extended Odinsleep, Gungnir is passed unto Loki, as Thor had been banished to Earth. Later, Loki uses the spear to vaporize the frost giant king Lauffey, whom he doublecrosses after having allowed him passage into Asgard.
    • Lady Sif also fights with a double-sided glaive.
  • In The Avengers (2012), 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.
  • Troy shows use of spears as a very useful weapon, particularly in Achilles's duel with Hector.
  • Hero: Long Sky uses a spear with a rather flexible metal pole in his duel with Nameless.
  • Most, if not all, of the Spartans in 300. 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 excel 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 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) wields one in the final showdown with devastating efficiency.
  • In The Dead Lands, the inexperienced teenager Hongi arms himself with a spear.
  • Masked Avengers: The Masked Gang's standard weapon for Mooks is a trident.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman creates a spear with a Kryptonite blade to kill Superman with. It's later used by Superman to kill Doomsday.

  • In Bernard Cornwell's novel Agincourt the hero is an archer, but the knight whose company he joins to go off to the war cross-trains every one of his archers to use the poleaxe.
  • 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 Grey Angels of The Dinosaur Lords have as their signature weapon the soul reaper, which looks like a metre-and-a-half-long glaive blade on a metre-long stick.
  • 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 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.
  • The Hunger Games: Marvel's preferred weapon is a spear.
  • The Icelandic Sagas contain many references to warriors fighting with the atgeir, which definitely seems to have been some kind of polearm. Its precise nature is uncertain, although many English translations traditionally render it as "halberd".
  • Just about everyone in The Iliad uses a spear. The most badass 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 Hero himself, Achilles, likewise wields a gigantic spear inherited from his father that no one else is capable of using.
  • 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).
  • Legacy of the Aldenata: The halberds used by the Swiss Guard, in The Tuloriad.
  • The Lord of the Rings gave mention to Aeglos/Aiglos, the spear of King Gil-galad. 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.
  • Martín Fierro: This is a Narrative Poem that narrates the war between Argentian Indians and Gauchos trying to Settling the Frontier.
  • 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.
  • Used a few times in 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 Discworld, as explained in Men at Arms: "The thing about a pike, the important thing, was that everything happened at the other end of it, i.e. a long way off."
  • Lady Cregga Rose Eyes of the Redwall book The Long Patrol carries an axepike, which is a pike with an axeblade at the top.
    • Otters carry javelins, which they use in close combat as often as they throw them.
  • 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 glaive-like polearm.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Prince Oberyn Martell, 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.
  • Jon-Tom's ramwood staff in Spellsinger has a long concealed blade in one end that turns it into a spear he learns to use quite effectively.
  • 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 setting's resident big insanely sharp instant death blades, and Magitek Powered Armor.
    • And in the second book, Words of Radiance, his spren, Sylphrena, turns out to be an Equippable Ally, turning into quite possibly the first ever Shardspear.
  • In the Time Scout novel Wagers of Sin, Skeeter wields one of these as his final weapon in the Arena.
  • 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 the Trickster's Duet we're introduced to what is probably the most fantastical weapon in Pierce's books. As a raka freedom fighter and spy, Junai has to be more covert; therefore, Junai's "staff" sprouts foot-long blades at both ends when she twists the grip.
  • The Red Knight of The Traitor Son Cycle is gifted a ghiavarina (heavy spear) with an Absurdly Sharp Blade at the end of the first book, and it becomes his main weapon for the rest of the series.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Kalak and the other leondians wields halberds 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.
  • 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.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Mat Cauthon, 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Young Wizards: Ronan got a huge, glowing, magical, elemental spear forged by the Irish gods, from iron drawn directly from the heart of the sun, in A Wizard Abroad. Granted, it almost cost him his sanity to decide to finally use it.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: Some of the members of the Sisterhood of Karn carry what look like naginata.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The climax of Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper" has Oberyn Martell armed with a poisoned spear taking on Gregor Clegane armed with a BFS. He gets the better of the fight... until he gets overconfident. This trope form half of his House sigil along with The Power of the Sun.
    • Grey Worm, and the Unsullied in general, can kick some serious ass with their spears and phalanx formations.
    • Doran Martell's immense personal guardsman Areo Hotah wields an opulently bejeweled glaive.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Legends of Tomorrow. While Season 2's Plot Coupon is The Spear of Destiny, it never gets used as an actual spear against someone (though it is used like a bat at one point). Presumably because it can be used to rewrite reality, and why stab someone when you can just erase them from existence? After its depowered, the Reverse Flash threatens to stab Sara with it, but gets killed by the Black-Flash before he can.
  • 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 (hence the dagger). Barca and Auctus fought in this style to great effect. Nasir, though not a gladiator, also wielded a spear when he joined the rebellion.
  • The Jem'Hadar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine have the kar'takin polearm, which is essentially an alien halberd with a point at the end to allow for both hacking and stabbing. A few Starfleet and Klingon characters get their hands on them in a few episodes as well.
  • Practically too many Super Sentai members and Power Rangers to mention.

    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 Classical 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.
    • The war god Kartikeya (also known as Murugan), son of Shiva, owns the divine spear Vel.
  • Slovak folk hero Juraj Jánošík is usually depicted wielding a valaška, a Slavic axe on a walking stick.
  • In Japanese Mythology, is said that Izanagi and Izanami pulled Japan and the other isles and continents out of the water using the Ame 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.
  • 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.

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

  • Janus from the Cool Kids Table game Small Magiccan fight with a polearm, though he prefers using his fists.

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Harriet's superpower allows her telekinetic control over a crude-looking spear called Severance. She can control it to slash or ram into opponents, or she can instead inflict illusions or Sensory Abuse by having Severance cut them.
  • Both Lancers from Fate/Nuovo Guerra, naturally. One of them is somewhere between this and a Sinister Scythe, though.
  • 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.
  • Kytheus Rhavenfell, the PC and protagonist of There is no GATE; we did not fight there, takes after his father in wielding spears in battle. He also wields Skyfall, a glaive forged by a a dwarven Master Fuser Smith out of a lightning-blackened piece of the Cloudpeak Ironwood Heart, complete with a twisted piece of Tyrant horn.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The 1st Edition Advanced 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.
      • Classical 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:
  • In Rocket Age the Martian Maduri have traditionally used the fork spear, a flexible weapon which can mount with several different kinds of blades for specific combat situations. Although it often has a trident layout, most consider it to simply be a polearm similar to those used on Earth in the Renaissance.

    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 Koei's 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 (current Page Image), Keiji Maeda, Tadakatsu Honda (Tombo-giri), Ieyasu Tokugawa (Cannon Spear), and Toshiie Maeda (twin spears as a secondary weapon).
      • Nagamasa and Hideyoshi Toyotomi originally wielded spears in the first game, but were given different weapons in the succeeding sequels (a knightly lance and a three-sectioned-staff, respectably)
    • 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.
    • Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War allows the player to control squads wielding a variety of polearms. They are very useful against cavalry, but get eaten alive by archers or infantry.
  • Again in Sengoku Basara: Sanada Yukimura (dual wields), Chōsokabe Motochika (an anchor), Oichi, Matsu, Honda Tadakatsu, Maeda Toshiie, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hojo Ujimasa
  • This is the favored 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, Oerba Yun Fang, and Aranea Highwind. 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 polearms.
    • 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).
    • Final Fantasy XIV also makes them the preferred weapon of the Lancer class (which naturally unlocks the Dragoon job at level 30). Like in XI, they do piercing damage, though that doesn't give any specific advantage other than benefiting from their own ability to apply a debuff that reduces piercing resistance.
  • 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.
  • Spears are one of six available weapon disciplines available in White Knight Chronicles. Atypically, they are used in this game for defensive purposes, as the discipline's skillset revolves around acting as a Stone Wall, utilizing it in tandem with a heavy shield. There are many skills which grant defensive buffs to the user and nearby party members while its offensive actions are limited and not very powerful in comparison to the other disciplines.
    • Spears are also the Weapon of Choice for party member Caesar's Incorruptus, the Dragon Knight. As opposed to human lancers, the Dragon Knight's style of spearfighting is noticeably more offensive in nature.
    • Late in the second game, The Avatar can acquire the Ark Incorruptus, which unlike the other knights, is not restricted to using a single weapon. One of its three options is a spear; which allows it to fight similarly to the Dragon Knight, focusing on pierce-type physical damage. This is opposed to using a sword, which specializes in slashing attacks, or a hammer, which deals blunt damage.
  • 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 is 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 start 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.
    • Tales of Zestiria: Alisha uses spears, and is very acrobatic and athletic with them.
    • Tales of Berseria: Eleanor Hume is one of the most proficient spear users in the series, if not the most proficient. She's so skilled with the spear that in an one-on-one fight with The Hero Velvet Crowe, she legitimately won the fight. Velvet had to cheat and get pragmatic to turn the tables back in her favor when straight fighting failed. Also unique for this trope is that Eleanor is a Magic Knight, generally a warrior seen using magic and swords; instead, she uses her spear and magic, and her spears seem to be the focal point through which she uses her magic, as most of her artes that include projectile elemental attacks have the attacks come out of her spear's tip.
  • 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.
  • Diablo II:
    • Players can equip a large number of bladed polearms, such as glaives, halberds, and scythes. These weapons tended to have the widest range of damage, with high highs and low lows. Act 2 mercenaries can equip these as well but their graphic will always depict them with a stabbing spear.
    • The cows in the Secret Cow Level wield halberds bardiches.
    • The Amazon class can 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
    • Spears are a weapon commonly associated with Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt. His humanoid forms are almost always depicted as wielding a spear, and he is associated with two legendary artifact spears: The Spear of Bitter Mercy and the Spear of the Hunter.
    • Morrowind possesses spear weapons, most of which are most effective with a thrust attack, averting the 'spear slash' notion. Some spear-like weapons (still based off the Spear skill) such as Halberds and Poleaxes 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.
    • In universe, spears are favored weapons of Goblins and Rieklings (goblin-like humanoid creatures native to Solstheim). In Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, Riekling spears are small enough to be used one-handed by the PC. In the Dragonborn expansion for Skyrim, they can be used as arrows instead.
    • In the series' backstory, the Snow Prince was a Falmer (Snow Elf) One-Man Army who very nearly turned the tide of the war against the Nords, who were attempting to drive the Falmer to extinction. In addition to being a master of Frost magic, he wielded an enchanted spear that weakened the armor of those it struck and had ice-powers of its own.
    • There is also "MUATRA," which is supposed to be the spear wielded by the trickster god Vivec. However, given this is Vivec we're talking about, it's unclear if MUATRA is supposed to be an actual spear, or another type of thrusting weapon. Vivec's that kind of a narrator.
  • One of the weapon types in Fire Emblem, the other being swords, axes, bows, and tomes. 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: Radiant Dawn 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 who specializes in this, making him a notable exception to his sword-wielding contemporaries. 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: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, lance-wielding Soldiers became playable for the first time since Fire Emblem Gaiden. 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: Samurai's 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.
    • The Tauren Chieftain hero wields a big-ass haldberd. Due to his sheer size, however, he uses it as an axe instead of thrusting.
    • The Wyvern/Wind Riders throw poisoned spears at their enemies, as do the Night Elves' Dryads.
  • 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:
    • 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 3's 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.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild introduces a range of spears and halberds that Link himself can wield. As compared to the other melee weapon types (being primarily one-handed swords and two-handed greatswords/axes), these deal the least damage with each individual hit, but can strike more rapidly and from farther away, and are particularly ideal for mounted combat, too.
  • 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 cross 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.
  • Fallout:
    • The 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 badass then just shooting him. Spears are largely seen as primitive tribal weapons used by uncivilized peoples as John Cassidy implies. His daughter Rose of Sharon, despite being the daughter of a tribal, does not know how to use one.
    • The Dead Money DLC for Fallout: New Vegas introduces Ghost People, whose Weapon of Choice is the Knife Spear and the throwing 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.
    • Bayonets are a standard modification for most firearms in Fallout 4, as long as you have the raw materials and gunsmith skill.
  • 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 Assassin's 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 League of 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 yari. Warrior monks are armed with naginata.
    • 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:
  • In Demon's Souls, the warscythe 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.
  • 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.
  • Bloodborne takes it Up to Eleven by introducing the Rifle Spear, a Morph Weapon which overlaps as a literal Boom Stick, it can transform from a standard spear into a halberd attached with a shotgun barrel.
  • 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.
  • The Monster Hunter series has three different spear/polearm-type weapons usable by characters:
    • The Lance, a jousting lance carried around with a large shield for a powerful defense.
    • The Gunlance, similar to the regular lance, but it can also fire explosive shells at the end of it.
    • The 4th series of games introduced the Insect Glaive, which is sort of like a combination bo staff and naginata for speedy attacks and an insect companion which can attack monsters and empower the wielder with essences.
  • In Freedom Wars, the Polearms are one of the three melee weapon classes to choose from, along with Light Melee and Heavy Melee. L-6E1 and Moonshadow are designed for critical damage, as the former focuses on high critical damage, while the latter focuses on high critical chance. Gration and Hyuga are slow yet powerful drill lances with precise attacks. Holy Lance is a spear with the weakest damage output, but has Life Drain to compensate. Last but not least is the swift and powerful Exodus, as it is the only spear that deals impact-based damage, making it ideal for most Abductors.
  • Dragon Project gives us the Spear weapon class, as it focuses on ranged melee attacks. Heat Spear allows you to pull off a Skyfall to deal some burst damage. Averted by Soul Spear, which goes for Sinister Scythe with Life Drain instead. Burst Spear has a freaking drill for Altair's sake!
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl Hisako from Killer Instinct 2013 wields a naginata, as per the "feminine" connotation of the weapon.
  • Warframe features many varieties of polearms and bladed staves, although the spear slashing problem is completely averted by all of the polearms being designed explicitly for slashing, and resemble Halberds or a Monk's Spade much more than they resemble Spears.
  • In Smite, several deities come equipped with spears or its variations, though not all of them are specialized in swinging their spears directly. There's Athena (who can throw her spear/javelin, but mostly relies on disruptive magic as a Guardian), Anhur (more a Javelin Thrower), Ne Zha (aside of his fire-tipped spear, has some other tools for various utilities), and Awilix (uses several spear attacks, but heavily uses teamwork with her panther Suku). There is one God who is more specialized in spear-ish thing and all of his skills aside of just one involves how you slice your Blade on a Stick to your enemy: the aforementioned Guan Yu with his Green Dragon Sabre. And later on, there's another one who is even moreso than Guan Yu: Erlang Shen, seeing that he's more about empowering his own normal attacks with spear for deadly results.
  • Some of the guards in Fleeing the Complex use these. As Henry can find out the hard way, they're capable of firing lasers powerful enough to vaporize humans.
  • Undyne from Undertale controls magic spears at will, and uses them in combat. Strangely, it's similar in style of a Rhythm Game.
  • Pirates Vikings and Knights has the Viking Gestir, whose Weapon of Choice is a spear, and the Knight teams' Man-at-Arms, who carries a halberd.
  • Sumire Kanzaki from Sakura Wars wields a naginata, both in and out of her Mini-Mecha.
  • Luxaren Allure: Lynette uses spears.
  • Project Zomboid dials this right back to a literal blade on a stick. If you really must, you can tie a kitchen knife to a tree branch and use it as a spear. This does not make a very trusty weapon—though it's by no means the worst choice, since you could do all your fighting with pencils if you wanted to. The makeshift spear has good reach, but it tends to break after only a few strikes.
  • BlazBlue: Central Fiction: Mai Natsume uses the Outseal spear, a red spear that can change direction if she throws it.
  • For Honor:
    • The Nobushi Samurai class wields a naginata, and uses it for quick, flowing, long-reaching attacks.
    • The Lawbringer carries a poleaxe, "the most versatile weapon ever created," and has a wide range of attacks suited to countering, pushing, pulling, throwing, and maneuvering opponents around the map.
    • The Valkyrie carries a spear in conjunction with a shield, letting her dodge and counter while also knocking enemies off their feet.
    • The Gladiator wields a trident and buckler, focusing on high agility and combo attacks with shorter range than most of the other polearm wielding heroes.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Pyrrha of RWBY uses a Swiss Army Weapon spear that can also take the form of a sword and a rifle. Ruby also wields a polearm in the form of a Sinister Scythe that can change shape from a normal farmer's scythe to a glaive-like blade and a sniper rifle. Spears and polearms are also common weapons for the Mooks of the show, and in Volume 5, Cinder creates a javelin out of glass and impales Weiss with it.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Alex has powers over spears. He can make them explode too.
  • The King of Town's Knight from Homestar Runner is often seen carrying a spear with him. He's first seen using it in the episode "The King of Town's Very Own Quite Popular Cartoon Show!!". His skill with it is less to be desired, however.


    Web Original 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

    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, for footmen and 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.
    • Universal in practically every ancient and medieval battle. The most common hand-to-hand killing weapons in most armies before massed black powder weapons were variants of blades on sticks. Swords were primarily side-arms. The Republican and Imperial Roman are exceptions, where the primary weapon of their front-line troops was a gladius, but they still had two pila (variants of javelins) and the auxila and triarii did have spears. (Note that these statements are generalities, and there will be nuanced, numerous reasons for the choices made by every culture and time period.)
    • Spears were the common weapon of hoplite armies.
    • Spears (yari) and naginata were the dominant hand-to-hand battle weapons of samurai, with the sword a side-arm used when not kitted up for war.
    • Swiss pikemen.
    • It also helps that it is relatively easy to train someone to use a spear effectively, as opposed to weapons like swords.
    • This for many raises the question of why the sword had such cultural prominence if the spear was the main battle weapon, and the answer is simple; remember that for every moment spent in battle, months or years were spent out of it. If you had to simply walk around town, or stand a long guard shift, you may opt for the thing that is easier to carry at your side (your sidearm). Carrying around a blade on a stick is a pain in the rear. Thus, if your society deemed you high status enough to carry a weapon around in the first place, and if you weren't expecting pitched battle any minute now, you probably would be much more inclined to carry the thing that is easy to carry. This held true in multiple cultures from East Asia, Central Asia, and Europe.
    • Additionally, the belief that a polearm is useless if your opponent gets inside it is nonsense, as demonstrated by Matt Easton of Scholagladiatora.
  • 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.
  • A favoured weapon of the Roman Army, with the preferred model changing with time:
    • At the start the Romans fought with the phalanx (introduced in Italy by the Greek colonies in the south), and in that time the preferred model was the hasta, a normal spear. This took advantage of the spear's deadliest potential, creating a veritable wall of sharp points that, when combined with shields, were key to pinning down an enemy while the cavalry outflanked them, and, to increase said potential, slowly lenghtened the hasta until it reached two meters of length.
    • However, after fighting the Gauls and the Samnites, the Romans came to realize that while the phalanx might have worked well in Greece, with its high, impassable mountains surrounding low valleys, and in the flat plains and plateaus of the East, the slow and cumbersome formation would often lose cohesion in the hilly-but-not-mountainous terrain of Italy. The Romans thus switched to the shortsword (and eventually the gladius) as the main weapon. In this period the hasta was initially kept by the hastati (the youngest soldiers) and the triarii (the veterans), but eventually restricted to the latters.
      • The "orb" formation did remain in their arsenal later on. The Roman legions 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.
    • In the Republican period the favoured blade on a stick became the pilum (pila is the plural), a distinctive javelin of Etruscan origin with the small bur sturdy spearhead being at the end of a long iron. Each legionary carried two or maybe one) javelin(s), and they would unleash a short but intense barrage on the enemy right before melee to soften them up while disarraying their lines, with one additional surprise: the distinctive construction gave them formidable piercing power, while at the same time (either due the long iron behind the spearhead being untempered or one of the nails connecting it to the shaft being replaced by a fragile wooden pin, depending on the model) the javelin would bend, making it near-impossible to remove from the shield which was thereby made virtually useless and prevent enemies from throwing the pila back.
    • Before the Marian Reform (that unified all types of Roman infantry), the velites skirmishers carried multiple veruta, essentially lighter pila. They were extremely effective, to the point that, at Zama, they were used successfully against elephants.
    • Roman citizen cavalry (decimated in the Second Punic War and abolished by the Marian Reforms) would also use a spear, either the short doru (used in combination with a shield) or a longer thrusting lance, depending on the individual cavalryman's preference (they had to buy their own equipment).
    • During the early Imperial period the auxilia (troops raised from non-citizen subjects integrated in the regular army) would have skirmishers equipped with lancee, normal javelins, and cavalry equipped with both javelins and short spears.
    • In the late Roman army the pilum ended up being replaced with the spiculum, a hybrid between the old javelin and a spear of Germanic origin that was a much better thusting weapon (for better use with the resurrected phalanx-like formations) while still keeping some of the pilum's potential as armour-piercing javelin.
    • The equites cataphractarii (lit. “completely armoured horsemen”), originating in the early Imperial period as an auxilia unit and later integrated as citizens, was a type of heavy cavalry copied from the Parthians, and would carry the contus, a long thrusting lance. They were effectively the predecessors of the medieval knights, with specialized saddles allowing them to replicate the same devastating effect (see below) before the invention of the stirrups.
  • Although the sword was "the soul of the Samurai", polearms like the naginata were 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.
    • 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 tangs. So if they broke, they were re-made into katana/wakizashi/tanto depending on how much blade was left.
    • Just as important as the naginata 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 Warring States Era. Samurai tended to wield shorter versions while Ashigaru wielded the longer varieties. The Yari became popular because of the Mongol invasion of Japan; in the brief clashes, the Mongols and their Korean conscripts advanced in tight formation. The Japanese learned the lesson.
    • Another notable Japanese polearm was the Nagamaki, which is similar to a katana with a handle as long as the blade. This places it "in between" the katana and the naginata, with longer reach than a sword but more close-range maneuverability than a full-length polearm.
  • 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... And had a formidable (for the time) artillery support.
    • 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 polearms. 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 the 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 (often hooked) 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. Poleaxes sometimes also had another spike on the bottom of the shaft. The version with a hammer rather than an axe head at the front is sometimes known as the Lucerne hammer, after the Swiss city that popularized it. 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.
  • 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. You might notice the similarity to the poleaxe described above; the biggest difference is that halberds have longer shafts, and lack the hammer function that some poleaxes had. You may also notice that the similarities to the English bill (which also featured a blade, a pint, a hook, and a long shaft); the difference was in the shape of the blade, and the differences were fairly small (many Swiss regions made no real distinction). This versatility let the halberd hold out or win against any type of weapon, from the sword to the pike. Additionally, they were inexpensive to make and therefore an ideal weapon for foot soldiers.
    • One interesting note about the halberd is that historically, the axe-head of the halberd was curved inward toward the wielder, or was even concave. This was most common on the later versions of the halberd, as older halberds had traditional axe-heads. The reason for this is that the most common way to attack with a halberd was for the infantryman to thrust with the spearhead, and then if the spearhead failed to hit a target or was blocked, the soldier could then simultaneously step back and chop with the axe-head or pull with the hook in a single quick motion, with the added benefit that the blade or hook might be able to hit a more lightly armored part of an opponent, such as the back of their neck or shoulder, the inside of the elbow, or the back of the thigh or knee. Meanwhile, if the halberd was swung like a traditional axe, the long spike could interfere with the blow and the length of the polearm itself could cause chaos in one's own ranks.
  • The spear was a weapon of great value to the Incas and they held their own variant of the halberd as the weapon of the nobility instead of swords, which were not known yet (hence why the Incas are often depicted as holding one in tandem with a rectangular shield).
  • 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 single-edged, curved 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. The Ge 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.
    • The Nine Dragon Trident deserves some kind of award for having a double digit blade count. Three hooked blades project out from a straight blade that in turn projects out from a horizontal metal bar that reportedly could also be sharpened into another cutting edge. Four such bars are set at right angles to each other, and at the tip of the weapon is a trident. The weapon weighs twenty pounds and could, depending on sharpening preferences, boast anywhere nineteen and twenty-seven cutting edges.
    • Accurately called the Hunting Tiger Trident, this variation on your typical trident was notable because it was designed primarily for, well, hunting tigers. A hunter wielding this would go into the wilderness, with the intent of killing perhaps a man-eating tiger, and when he found it, the tiger would often charge at him. The trident would be held forward, and the tiger would impale itself upon it. The prongs on the sides would keep the tiger from sliding farther onto the spear and swiping at the hunter. To strengthen this, the wielder would often dig the back end of the spear into the ground for extra bracing against the rampaging animal.
  • 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 horse's 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 unstoppability was the basis for medieval warfare.
  • The Mexican Lancers were feared by the American forces during the incidents of the separation of Texas and the Mexican-American war. Americans left written accounts of the skill with which these mounted lancers handled their weapon, particularly the battalions of Jalisco and Aguascalientes, which served with distinction in the defense of their homeland, despite facing unsurmountable odds.
  • It's a common joke nowadays to have a setup with two people talking. One discusses his ultimate weapon: a knife taped to a stick, which he calls a "knifestick".
    Other Friend: You know that's a spear, right?
    First Friend: DENIED!!
  • Walking sticks can have small blades inside, activated by a button.

Alternative Title(s): Spear, Polearm


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