Character Development: Armed and Dangerous

It’s about 4:30 in the Morning as I type this, probably even later once I finally post it. Why would I be up at such an ungodly hour if I didn’t need to? Simple, my sleep cycle’s been off lately due to night hours at the Day Job and a bug that I seem to have picked up and am heroically fighting off. Seriously, we’re talking swords and shields here. 😉


Today, I want to briefly touch on the subject of how to arm your characters. Now, depending on a variety of factors, that could entail a wide range of selections. In my opinion, weaponry can be grouped into the following categories, but must be considered interchangeable This is not an all-inclusive list so feel free to add. I should note that I am not including the use of Magic in this discussion, but it is valid to note it:

1) Non-Lethal:

Non-Lethal weapons are any weapons that cause pain, discomfort, even unconsciousness without actually killing a person. Examples can include psychological warfare (people in relationships know this one), tazers (shocking, I know), pepper spray (spicy!) and when people “hack” your smart phone and post the naked pictures on the Internet (The Horror!).

2) Lethal:

Lethal weapons kill. Bottom line. Anything that has the potential to take a life can be considered a lethal weapon. There’s more in this category, so let’s take a walk down the List.

Inanimate Objects: These include rocks, trees (if you’re Superman), anything that you can pick up and chuck at the bad guys (or good guys if your alignment is toward the other side…hehe).

Bladed Objects: Anything with a blade that can cut, chop, slice, dice, or slash. You were checking out that butcher block in your kitchen, weren’t you?

Blunt Objects: Anything with a blunt edge that can be used to bludgeon an opponent or otherwise give them a goose egg on their foreheads. Popular selections include Hammers, Maces, Staffs, Morning Stars (Yes, it swings but combats shouldn’t be a dull affair).

Ranged Weapons: Bows and Arrows dominate this particular section and go from your basic longbow to composite to compound bow to crossbow. Even a slingshot falls into this section. When we scale up from that, we start to get into catapults and the Grand Momma of them all, the Trebuchet. After the Trebuchet, we start to include the use of gunpowder and start talking about cannons and eventually field artillery pieces such as howitzers. Rockets and Missiles also fall in here.

Projectile Weapons: For the purposes of this discussion, anything that uses a gunpowder propellant charge to hurl a projectile over a distance. In other words, guns. You have an insane selection to choose from in this case, based on the era your story is set. Handguns, rifles of the semiautomatic and automatic varieties dominate this particular section. The difference, of course, is how the action performs to either throw out one round or many, when you pull the trigger.

Directed Energy Weapons: To Infinity and Beyond! Yep, we’ve talking about the stuff that is semi-fictional. Yes, weapons that utilize light as a destructive catalyst do exist now, but they are First Generation at best. You won’t be picking up a copy of Han Solo’s Blaster at Cabella’s or Dick’s Sporting Goods any time soon.

As you can see, there are a LOT of choices that go into what your fictional people are packing. There’s no right or wrong choice because ultimately, the story will dictate what it needs.

Thanks for your time. 🙂