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Savage Spiked Weapons

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Crossing dimensions just to smash the local Sugar Bowl.

"What this lacks in finesse, it makes up in spikes."
— Description of the "Barbarian Mace" in Dragon Age: Origins

Something about taking a simple club and adding a whole bunch of spikes on it makes it look ten times more dangerous. Perhaps it's because it gets rid of any elegance that may be associated with other weapons, so you're left with something that screams "this was made to smash, stab, cause physical pain, and NOTHING ELSE!", making it as Obviously Evil as a weapon can look. The flail variants look even more dangerous by making the user able to spin and whip it around in flashy and destructive ways.

In fiction, spiked clubs and flails are often used by the more unhinged and violent, with a lot of versatility in character archetypes, too. Due to the lack of elegance in its design and how simple some variants of it are to make, they are a common weapon for the standard Mook as well as the stronger Smash Mook. Their primitive appearance that puts emphasis on destruction above all else makes them popular weapons for Dumb Muscle types. Spiky brass knuckles and baseball bats are popular for stereotypical violent criminals, be it a street punk, biker, or mafia legbreaker. A spiked club or mace's almost cartoonishly dangerous appearance makes them a fitting weapon for stereotypically psychotic and Ax-Crazy characters; spiked flails are also a good way to emphasize their insane and erratic personality with them swinging them around. Spiked gauntlets, warhammers with a spiked hammer head and more intricate examples of a spiked club or mace (ones that don't look like somebody just stuck a bunch of nails into a piece of wood) aren't uncommon to see being used by evil knights or noblemen, and at times Evil Overlord characters. Its savage design also makes it popular for stereotypical barbarian characters, whether it be for Mooks in a Barbarian Tribe or a Barbarian Hero. If a heroic character wields it, they are usually a a brawler who loves a good fight and/or a more mean and unpleasant character.

While normally associated with clubs or maces and flails. The trope also sees itself crossing over from time to time with war hammers. As the spikes on the flat broad ends of the hammerhead can just outright make them look like giant meat tenderizers, thus even more savage than a warhammer can already be. Although even then, meat tenderizers in of themselves make good weapons for those whom need to improvise on the fly or for those meat-obsessed psychos.note 

Fiction set in the modern era uses baseball bats/wood planks/Two By Fores with nails or other spiky sharp objects then rammed, attached or nailed through or to them. Thanks to the prevalence of Zombie Apocalypse fiction, these weapons became very popular, despite their impracticality. They definitely look intimidating and cool. They can appear in the hands of both heroic survivors or evil raiders/bandits. Although usually whoever carries these savage whackers is depicted as being eager to bust some heads (both undead and living). Another practice is just having barbed-wire wrapped around it.note 

Such weapons are very much Truth in Television. However rather than pure intimidation, such projections helped contend with plate armor in much the same way as hammers: by allowing the energy of the blow to be focused on a smaller point. Ironically, the spiked flail commonly found in fiction never actually existed during The Middle Ages in Europe. This was instead a distinct weapon called the morning star, which evolved from the club.

By its very nature, examples of this trope usually crossover with Brutish Character, Brutish Weapon, Carry a Big Stick, Epic Flail, Batter Up!, and Power Fist. Common character archetypes seen with these include Mook, Smash Mook, Dumb Muscle, The Brute, Ax-Crazy, The Berserker, and Blood Knight. For more tropes on weapons reflecting a character's personality, see Royal Rapier, Sinister Switchblade, Knightly Sword and Shield and Good Weapon, Evil Weapon. Related to Serrated Blade of Pain and Boulder Bludgeon, and some examples/the general concept of this trope could almost be considered a combination of the two. May count as an Improvised Weapon depending on the quality of the weapon and/or circumstances of it's use. Primitive Clubs, where strong but crude bludgeons are used to communicate that a character is primitive and barbaric, thusly is a sister trope. See also Spikes of Villainy, Spikes of Doom, Spike Balls of Doom and Tough Spikes and Studs for other spike-related tropes.


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    Anime And Manga 
  • Berserk
    • One of the Blue Whale Knights' most powerful warriors, Samson Coborlwitz is a hulking giant of a man who fights with a spiky Epic Flail. Despite being themed around an anglerfish, he's not very bright, but he more than makes up for this with his strength and ferocity. Not that it does him much good against Guts.
  • Gamaran: the Maruyama Brothers are a trio of cruel warriors whose infamy comes from their habit to inflict a gruesome Family-Unfriendly Death to anyone they face with their "Murderous Swords". The third brother, Kozo, carries the blade known as "Kurotsuji" (Black Crossing), a nodachi whose blade is viciously barbed so to inflict as much pain as possible.
  • Kaido, an enormous Oni-like man considered to be the "strongest creature" in the world of One Piece and one member of the series' Big Bad Ensemble, carries a spiked club. He's fast and strong enough with it to defeat Luffy in one strike. His son, Yamato, uses a similar club called "Takeru" but just to show how morally better Yamato is, Takeru doesn't have spikes, only blunt studs.
  • Saint Seiya: Dante, Silver Saint of Cerberus, is The Brute who mainly fights using massive flails tipped with huge, spiked orbs.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Blessed with a Hero's Heart: In his efforts to try and help his party members become more competent fighters, Izuku gives Darkness an Iron Bark club with thorns, to take advantage of her strength and avoid the pesky problem of her lack of accuracy with a sword. At first she considers it "barbaric" and unfitting for a Crusader, until she tries it out on Beldia and realizes that it's pretty damn effective.

  • Billy Club (2013): In the prologue, we see Billy (presumably) hammering a bunch of nails into a baseball bat so they all stick out on one side, and carve a groove into the top into which he inserts a knife blade meant to be retractable.
  • Excalibur has some examples:
    • One of the weapons Arthur uses during his first battle with Lancelot is a spiked mace, which accentuates his insane rage during the scene (Lancelot even points out that Arthur is willing to kill a man that isn't even his enemy).
    • Lancelot plays with this trope during the final battle where he arrives and uses a spiked club as his main weapon. While Lancelot isn't a stereotypically barbaric or lower class character, he LOOKS the part after spending years in exile, and getting a more stereotypically brutish and primitive looking weapon like a spiked club rather than a more stereotypically refined and elegant looking weapon like the sword he previously used might be a way to emphasize his fall from grace.
  • The Kunoichi: Ninja Girl: Shimotsuki uses a pair of spiked knuckledusters to discipline Kanna. He even warns her not to move while he is hitting her because, if she does, he might hit a major organ and his aim is to punish her, not kill her.
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: During the final battle, after Lord Humungus unshackles the hate-filled Wez and gives him the OK to attack Max, Wez climbs on Max's truck with a spiky flail he made out of scrap metal and just starts wailing on the windshield and roof of the cab in an attempt to kill Max and The Feral Kid.

  • Fighting Fantasy: Facing something spiked and painful is a given when your character has to face beings like Chaos Warriors and whatnot. An example is in Trial of Champions, you fight a Chaos Champion who's trying to brain you with a large spiked mace.
  • Forbidden Gateway: Where the Shadows Stalk has an encounter where your character dreams that a druid priest tells you of the evil you face and will aid you. You wake up to find your knobkerrie now has a metal spike protruding out of it to cause extra damage during a fight.
  • Lone Wolf: the Drakkarim melee arsenal use this as a rule of thumb: when it's not a blade to give serrated edges to, then it's something to adorn with more spikes. They are literally a race of Blood Knight soldiers.

  • Fengshen Yanyi:
    • Feng Lin, the muscle-bound general working for Zhang Guifang, one of the first generals sent against the town of Xiqi, is a straight-forward brute who employs two Wolf-Teeth Clubs in combat with great skills.
    • One of the Four Generals serving the traitorous prince Yin Jiao uses a similar trick and, like Feng Lin, is a barbaric fighter with no technique nor finesse.
    • Coupled with Primitive Clubs, the giant Wu Wenhua uses a colossal cudgel carved from a single tree and adorned with huge spikes, mentioned when he first swings the weapon at his opponent and misses, the spikes embedding themselves for over three feet into the ground.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Robert Baratheon was famous for wielding a huge spiked warhammer. It was with this weapon that he killed the heir to the throne, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Highlander: Several particularly nasty Immortals have swords with hand guards or pommels that are customized with spikes for up close damage. The most notable case is probably Kronos of The Four Horsemen, who has a hand-and-a-half sword overengineered with large, curved quillions and a big pommel, all decorated with assorted spikes and pokey bits. Even the blade has spikes that line up with the tips of the quillions. Not only does it look exactly like the weapon of an Immortal so evil he made his way into the Bible as a harbinger of the Apocalypse would use, it has practical use. The blade spikes and curved quillions form a pocket good for trapping an opponent's blade then disarming them, and the heavy pommel not only balances the bulky weapon, but provides a useful bludgeon for infighting.

    Mythology and Religion 


    Video Games 
  • In Castle Crashers, the barbarian enemies and demon enemies commonly wield spiky, dark-colored maces to compliment their barbaric and evil backgrounds.
  • In Dark Devotion, Hezek the Baptized is a brutish berserker who wields a spiked cudgel.
  • Several examples in the Dark Souls series as a whole, such as the Morningstar, which deals Strike damage and causes Bleed build-up, but one of the most noteworthy examples of this is the equipment of Kirk, Knight of Thorns, as all his items, from his armor and sword to even his shield, are all covered in vicious spikes with the intention of causing bleeding by either striking the foe or rolling into them.
  • The first weapon that can be crafted in Darkwood is the “Board with Nails.” It can also be upgraded by hammering even more nails into it, increasing its damage.
  • An early weapon that can be found in Dragon Age: Origins is the Barbarian Mace. The weapon's description says "What this lacks in finesse, it makes up in spikes." A few other spiked mace and maul type weapons can be found in the game. They universally have lower outright damage or crit chances than swords or axes, but they bypass an enemy's armor with ease.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, "this item menaces with spikes of [insert material]" is one of the descriptions that can be added to a weapon decorated with a metal or a gemstone.
  • In Eternal Champions, the character roster were plucked form all periods of time. Primitive Caveman character Slash wields a large spiked club, signifying his origins from Earth's brutal, pre-historic past.
  • The two weakest and most common enemies in Golden Axe carry a spiked mace and spiked club, and the savage Minotaur boss from the sequel wields a large one.
  • Grey: An Alien Dream: One of Grey's weapons is a baseball bat with nails in it.
  • Knights of the Round has a lot of examples of this with their enemies and bosses, with the barbaric looking "Buster Knight" enemies carrying spiky clubs to compliment their spiked shields, spiky shoulderpads, and horned helmets the gigantic, even more barbaric looking boss Balbars carrying an absolutely enormous spiked hammer ("The Hammer" is even his Red Baron), one of the last bosses is "The Iron Golem" a giant marionette made from pieces of oversized knight armor who has Spike Balls of Doom for hands, and has very little means of attack aside from "try to smash you", Arlon wields a spiked mace and spiked knuckleduster, and due to being a Palette Swap of Arlon, the final boss Garibaldi also wields a spiked mace (he trades in the knuckleduster for magic rings).
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Ganon's minions tend to favor weapons covered in spikes and barbs.
    • Bokoblins and moblins have a fascination for adding spikes to their weapons to make them deadlier. This includes weapons where it makes no sense at all, such as bows, and descriptions of these items lampshade this.
      "After much consideration by bokoblins on how to improve the boko bat, they simply attached sharp spikes to it."
    • Lizalfos makes use of boomerangs and spears with blades covered in hooked barbs and jagged edges. Their Compendium entries note this and warn about the grievous wounds that can be inflicted by their ripping blades.
  • Mega Man 6: Knight Man, one of the eight Robot Masters, sports a spiked ball with a chain as his main weapon. Also, diverse Humongous Mecha bosses from the series have this kind of weapon as part of their arsenal.
  • OMORI: Aubrey's real self often carries a nailed bat as of late, and is much more mean and punkish than she used to be.
  • Paper Mario marked the first appearance of a spiked mace wielding Spike subspecies called Clubba. They guarded Tubba Blubba's castle and were not very quick-witted.
  • Persona 5: Zigzagged. Ryuji often carries Improvised Weapons like spiked bats into battle and is the rowdiest person on the team. But underneath his insensitive, rough exterior, he's a forgiving Nice Guy with overwhelming loyalty to his friends.
  • Saints Row: Baseball bats have been present since the first game, but in Saints Row: The Third you are given the option to upgrade the bat's damage by giving it railroad spikes and chains. In Saints Row IV, the upgrades are separate from the asthetic and among the bat skins you can chose there are three spiked versions: a standard one, one that has a new bat and shiny spikes, or one that has a moldy bat and rusted spikes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Mania: The maniacal Heavy Rider unpredictably rides around at breakneck speed swinging a massive spiky flail around during her boss fight in Lava Reef Zone.
    • The Sonic Channel website features an artwork of Knuckles the Echidna with a spiked club. Knuckles is also a short-tempered brawler who hails from a tribe of warrior echidnas.
  • Team Fortress 2 has some examples:
  • X Men: The obese, brutish, and not incredibly bright Blob carries a spiked mace during his boss fights.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Several such weapons appeared in Europe during the The Late Middle Ages:
    • The most common type was the mace itself, which evolved from a plain metal ball or cylinder, with the addition flanges or knobs. As noted above, this helped make them more effective against rigid plate armor.
    • There was also the morning star, which is the weapon actually commonly depicted in fiction, as the mace itself never developed true spikes. The morning star was a distinct weapon that evolved from the club, and featured a spiked metal head fixed to a wooden shaft.note 
  • In Asia, we have several spiked weapons as well.
    • In China, we have the Wolf's Tooth Mace, which is a heavy, cylindrical metal head on a long pole which is lined with spikes.
    • The Japanese kanabo is the Samurai's answer to Batter Up!: while the business end of the weapon can be bare, it can also be lined with spike or studs that can increase its ability to smash through armor.
  • This trope was invoked in Italian pro-war propaganda pictures at the time of World War I: Austrian soldiers were demonized as inhuman barbarians clubbing Italian soldiers (made harmless by gas attacks) with large spiked clubs.
  • In June 2020, clashes between Indian and Chinese soldiers broke out in the contested Galwan border region that led to dozens of deaths. Due to prior agreements signed by both sides prohibiting soldiers from "opening fire" in this area, all soldiers stationed there have been disarmed of firearms for over 2 decades, which meant the fighting was all done with melee weapons or bare hands. Indian journalists published reports claiming one of the weapons the Chinese troops used were nail-studded wooden rods.