Follow TV Tropes

Following

Matchstick Weapon

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/devil_may_cry__king_cerberus__fire_bo__by_dantesdt_ddlb21n_pre.jpg
Bring the marshmallows, 'cuz Dante's bringing the fire.
Advertisement:

Since the dawn of time, man has used fire, and he has used sticks. And sometimes he has used both at the same time.

A burning torch isn't just useful for finding your way in the dark. It can also be used as a weapon too. Granted, this is not a very effective weapon in real life given the number of ways to put out a flame. Therefore, this weapon is more useful for intimidation rather than actual melee combat or to set something else on fire, like a puddle of oil your opponent is drowning in. Of course if the flame is generated by supernatural means, this won't be an issue.

This trope comes in three categories:

  • Torches or burning pieces of wood: This one is often featured in Torches and Pitchforks mobs. It is also very common in video games. It is quite an improbable weapon but is also useful as a source of light. If the torch is magical, it will likely shoot fire as well.

  • Advertisement:
  • Burning stick/club weapons: Flaming staffs, batons and clubs. They can either be set ablaze by an external source or burn as one of their features.

  • Fire-blasting sticks: Fantasy works will have this as a Magic Staff or Magic Wand that shoots fire. Science Fantasy works will have this as a staff-shaped flame thrower.

A Sister Trope to Flaming Sword and Hot Blade. A Sub-Trope of Elemental Weapon and Kill It with Fire. See also Improvised Weapon and Improbable Weapon User. Compare Molotov Cocktail and Flaming Arrows.


Advertisement:

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Justice Society of America: The villain Shiv uses a staff with a dragon head that shoots fire.
  • Morgyn the Mighty: The eponymous character is a Tarzan Expy who had a "boy's own" adventure strip appearing in British Comics in the early to mid twentieth century. In one story he fought off a gorilla that attacked him in a cave by grapping a nearby torch and smashing it into the gorilla's face.
  • Vengeance of Vampirella (2019): In issue #14, Nyx has a dream in which she fights her father Chaos, who shows disapproval of her relationship with Vampirella. During the fight, Nyx grabs a burning log from the fire place and strikes Chaos with it.

    Films — Animated 
  • A Bug's Life: A literal example with P.T. Flea who sets the mechanical bird on fire using a matchstick and a pack of lighter fluid.
  • Cinderella: During the climactic battle between the mice and Lucifer, three mice roll a lit candle toward him while his back is turned. When he sees the flame, he nonchalantly blows it out.
  • The Jungle Book (1967): Mowgli defeats Shere Khan by tying a burning branch to his tail.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo waves a torch at Phobeus when he thinks the captain of the guards has come to arrest Esmeralda.
  • Shrek: The opening sequence has a mob of villagers armed with Torches and Pitchforks going into the swamp to capture Shrek for reward money. They get intimidated by him when they actually confront him but one man gathers enough courage to wave a torch in the ogre's face. Shrek simply snuffs out the torch with wetted fingers and scares them off.
  • The Swan Princess: The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure: Zelda's Magic Wand creates green Fireballs. These fireballs don't cause physical damage and instead are used to seek out and capture targets. After Zelda gains the power to destroy, the wand is able to create a red variation of her fireballs which kills Odette. Fortunately, she is returned after Derek destroys Zelda's notes.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • The Heroes of Olympus: During the First Giant War, Hecate fought and defeated her giant opponent Clytius by setting him alight with her torches. In House of Hades, she once again uses the torches to immolate Clytius, this time with help from the Seven.
  • The Lord of the Rings: On Weathertop when the Ringwraiths attack the hobbits and wound Frodo, Aragorn is seen from Frodo's perspective just before he blacks out from his wound as charging the Ringwraiths holding "a flaming brand of wood in either hand" as his sword Narsil is still broken at this point.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The Basic D&D version written by Tom Moldvay. An insect swarm (created by the spell Insect Swarm) and the monster known as yellow mold take 1-4 Hit Points of damage from a lit torch.
    • 1st Edition Advanced D&D. A mummy is vulnerable to fire attacks. A blow by a lit torch inflicts 1-3 Hit Points of damage on them.
    • 2nd Edition Advanced D&D, BATTLESYSTEM Miniatures Rules. A lit torch can be used as a melee weapon to inflict fire damage on opponents.
    • 3rd Edition: A torch is treated as an improvised weapon doing the same damage as a gauntlet of the same size. For a normal human, it's a medium weapon and inflicts 1-3 points of damage, +1 point of fire damage if the target is susceptible.

    Theatre 
  • Firebringer: Key point in the play, where the tribe learns how good agressive mammoths taste when burnt to death, plus when Zazzalil creates fire to protect the tribe against Snarl. Parodied when Emberly and Grunt use painted fire in an attempt to intimidate Snarl. It fails miserably.

    Video Games 
  • Bloodborne: The basic Torch and Hunter's Torch can be used as melee weapons that deal fire damage (though only the latter is viable against all but the weakest foes because it can be upgraded), provide light in darker levels, and make the beasts of the Old Yharnam area cower in fear whenever they see it. Early on, they're nearly the only damaging ability that scales with the Arcane stat.
  • Devil May Cry 5: After beating King Cerberus, Dante gains a new Devil Arm aptly named "King Cerebrus", a much stronger version of his old "Cerebrus" Devil Arm from Devil May Cry 3. Not only does it have the good ol' triple-handed nunchaku that has the element of ice, but it's also a Morph Weapon that can access three forms with their own elements (Ice, fire and lightning, which each head of King Cerebrus respectively had). One of these forms is a metal bo staff that imbued with the power of hellfire.
  • Dicey Dungeons: Matchsticks are one of the weapons the player character can find. They can be used to burn the enemy's dice.
  • Don't Starve: A torch can be used as both a weapon and a light source. If a lit torch is swung at a mob, the creature will be set on fire and take a bit of damage.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Torches can be can used to block (albeit considerably less effectively than an actual shield). The torch's equivalent of a Shield Bash inflicts a small amount of fire damage to the enemy.
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem: Some characters can find torches that can be used as both a bludgeon and a light source. While ineffective against most minions of the Ancients, it's a One-Hit Kill against Mantorok and Xel'otath's zombies.
  • Fatal Fury/The King of Fighters: Billy Kane can set his Simple Staff ablaze for extra damage. He can also use this power to create a ring-shaped fire projectile.
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins: The torch is a weapon that appears frequently throughout the series, usually as a throwing weapon.
    • In the first game the torch burns briefly in a single large flame if it hits the ground, but not if it hits an enemy directly. The flame lasts for nearly a second. Only two torches (or their ground fires) can be on the screen at a time, which can cause severe delays in firing if both torches reach the ground.
    • Super Ghosts 'n Ghouls: The player can throw up to two torches forward. When it hits a surface, it makes three small flames in a row. More torches cannot be thrown until the flames are extinguished. With the Bronze Armor or Golden Armor, the Torch is upgraded into the "Magic Fireball" or "Fireball Torch". In this form, the torch becomes a series of spinning flames.
    • Ghosts 'n Goblins: Gold Knights: Arthur can throw up to two torches in an arc that creates flames in the ground. With the powerful armor, the torches become bigger and he can use its magic, which creates a pillar of light in front of him.
  • Guild Wars 2: Torches can be used as an offhand (secondary) weapon by many character classes, in combination with a dagger, sword, or pistol. They work primarily as weapons and can't set inanimate objects on fire or light your way through darkness. They also never go out.
  • It Takes Two: In Chapter 2, "The Tree," the Drillbazzer X200 that May wields is a gun that uses matchsticks as ammunition, which combust upon impact. It is most effective when combined with Cody's Tree Sap Habschaiki 57, igniting the sap to cause bigger explosions.
  • Killer Instinct: Kim Wu fights with flaming nunchucks.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: During the segments where Link is trapped in wolf form and is unable to use his lantern, he can carry burning sticks in his mouth. These are useful for lighting torches and smoking out Twilit Bugs.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
      • Torches can be used as weapons, either from hits with the handle itself or to light an enemy on fire, but they are extremely weak and fragile.
      • All wooden weapons, including clubs and a wooden sword, can be set ablaze by swinging them through a source of flame. This increases their damage output but any weapon burning for one consecutive minute is destroyed. Enemies are aware of the damage increase, and will deliberately light their weapon on a nearby campfire if they spot Link.
  • Certain areas in Medievil have burning torches that Daniel can use to light his large club on fire, allowing it to inflict extra damage to certain enemies and set things on fire. In it's sequel Medievil 2, Daniel gets a torch to replace the club from the previous game. It has a weak melee attack but can be ignited and used to burn enemies in certain areas.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps: When Ori first arrives in Niwen, you don't go too far before you find a torch, which shortly becomes useful in fending-off Howl. Ori ends up abandoning the torch later when you have to jump through waterfall which, naturally, douses it.
  • Shadow of the Colossus: The eleventh colossus, commonly nicknamed 'Celosia', is terrified of fire; an important part of its boss battle is waving a blazing torch in its face to scare it into a position where you can actually damage it.
  • Titan Quest: One of the weapons found in the first area are torches that deal fire damage.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 

Top