1. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    What weapons would people use if metal didn't exist in the world?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Nai, May 2, 2020.

    I'm writing a story where in the world metal, jewels, and gems have been taken away by a powerful goddess and I'm struggling to think of good weapons my characters could use. Any opinions on what powerful weapons people would wield if metal wasn't an option.
     
  2. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    Stone Age people used stone tipped spears, obsidian arrows heads, clubs, atlatls, etc. If they have engineering prowess, I suppose your characters could make certain crude artillery pieces.
     
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  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Just out of interest, how long ago did the goddess take metal away? Years, decades, or generations? Do the people remember metal and jewelry etc?
     
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  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Society existed for tens of thousands of years (particularly in the New World) with very little metallurgy. And according to our good friend Jared Diamond of Guns, Germs, and Steel fame, steel and pyrotechnology were exclusively European and unavailable to the New World for making weapons:

    http://www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/variables/steel.html

    All those Mesoamerican had little trouble beating the shit out of each other, so it would appear than metal was a limited factor until they encountered Europeans armed with steel.
     
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  5. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    It was generations ago metal, jewels and gems are stuff of legend to the people in my world.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  6. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    Thank you that article was very helpful.
     
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  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're welcome. Read the book if you haven't already. It'll blow your mind.
     
  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    Now that would make it interesting—did the goddess remove metal form the entire world, or just one continent? Hmmm... :superthink:
     
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  9. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    The goddess removed the metal from the entire world and locked it away.
     
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  10. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    Yeah, that sounds like an interesting and helpful read I'll have to check it out.
     
  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor Blogerator

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    A wise choice.
     
  12. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Heavy objects and sharp objects.
     
  13. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Well there is plenty of things in nature. Just gotta think outside the smelter. :p
    [​IMG]

    There have been plenty of instances where bone has been used as knives and spearheads.
    With a little imagination and some level of safety, one could use poison ivy or poison oak
    as a weapon of sorts.
    Another would be the poison dart arrow frog, that is rubbed on the back with arrow and
    blow dart tips.
    Large animals have been domesticated (like elephants) and used as essentially tanks,
    to batter the enemy or like large archer cavalry.
    Just gotta look back in time and figure ways around the bits that utilize metal.
    Pretty sure you could make a semi workable siege engine with just wood and vines or rope
    if you can keep the whole thing from tearing itself apart. :)
     
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  14. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    Spears.

    Disregard swords; spears have been the non-plus-ultra, ever-present weapons of human history. Antique phalanx, medieval levies, baroque pike formations, napoleonic and even WW1 lancers...

    ... and you don't need metal for a spear :)
     
  15. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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  16. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Samson killed 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.
     
  17. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    By burning/charring the end of a wooden spear, you can harden the tip quite well.

    Assuming this is a more-or-less similar world as ours and with similar technological progress as ours. I would say they would have perfected the use of stone carving and shaping for the use of weapons.

    I do not see why you couldn't make a cannon, for instance, out of stone. It'd be very heavy, sure, but not altogether impossible. Especially if we take into account that the people in that world are much better at handling and processing stone (which makes sense).

    Insofar as swords are concerned. I also see no problem. The main reason why people went away from stone was not because metal was harder. When matallurgy first became a thing, weapons were cast from metal and stone fell out of use because metal was lighter and able to be formed in whatever shape you want a lot easier. Plus, it was considered cheaper for the same quality and had a lot more "potential" than stone because of metal's inherant qualities.

    Given that metal doesn't exist, they never would have switched. Therefore, the world of stone weapons would have continued to progress. IMHO, I would guess that stone-based club & axes would be primary as stone "swords" are not very practical when all things considered. By stone axes and clubs. I mean a wooden handle with a stone head upon it. So, anything in that same field would work like spears, pikes (which don't usually use metal anyway -- or very little anyway), polearms (some types), clubs, maces, flails/heavy flails, morningstars, etc...

    If we're talking like 'modern' world. Cannons and artillery could be made from some stone types. However, without metal there will effectively be no computers or most of our engineering. Hence, 'modern' would be about 18th century at best. Mortars would be probably quite popular as they are easy to make from stone and relatively easy to make in general. Plus, their size and shape would mean they wouldn't crack and break like alot of other cannon forms and types.

    For ideas on stone weapon, look up Mayan and Aztec weapons for ideas. You can elaborate upon that.


    ps: by all metals, do you include stones with very vague metals inside? and what exactly do you consider metals anyway? Are we talking like "engineering" metals like iron & steel or the chemical definition (positive ion and all that)? Are semi-metals also included or not (like Silicon, Boron, etc..) -- if they're not used, then a lot of "rocks" types won't exist either.

    If metals are not included as a whole, not even present in some rocks or substances. Then the world is going to function very different. Also, a lot of 'things' will not exist either and cannot work. For instance, the world wouldn't be magnetic with no iron core to make the poles and all that. No magnetic field to protect us and we would all die in very unpleasant conditions.


    Or, at we saying that all these metals exist, it is just that the people can't use it for some reason (like "God said so!" or "If you do I'll curse you to eternal damnation!" or "everytime you try and work metal, an 'accident' happens and prevents you from doing anything"?)


    Just trying to understand the limits and system of what you're describing.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  18. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 10/190 Status: Confused Contributor

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    Out of interest, without metal, what do people make their cooking utensils out of?
     
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  19. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    Thank you, you definitely brought up some very good options. The poison dart frog darts are really cool!
     
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  20. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    I think its most likely wood or ceramic. That's what I'm using in my story.
     
  21. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    Thanks for this post, you brought up a lot of good things for me to think about and named a lot of great weapons ideas. To answer your question only precious and industrial metals have been taken away i.e. Silver, gold, copper, iron, and steel things like that.
     
  22. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    That's very interesting, thanks for linking it.
     
  23. Nai

    Nai New Member

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    Haha so jaw bone of an ass definitely on my list!
     
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  24. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Great question... I'm sure they used open pits for skewering meat, and probably some form of pottery for boiling or steeping.
     
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  25. nippy818

    nippy818 Senior Member

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    black powder based weapons would still be on the table. basic hand cannons and proper siege engines made from wood (wooden cannons are totally a thing lol) as well as rockets, basic grenades (think a bamboo stalk filled with pebbles and gun powders. Stone cannon balls, hell, flint tipped arrowheads attached to rockets would be sweet! The aztecs made swords with shark teeth and obsidian flakes glued to a wooden shaft, slings are fast and have been used in the past. Blow guns with poison tipped darts, poison arrows, flint knives, stone axes and maces. Hell if the people in your world know sciences with basic understanding of chemistry they could make poison gases and even high explosives.
     

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