Weapons & Warfare: Arming Characters for Your Story

Stopping by for the first time for the A-Z Challenge? Read a short intro to the A-Zs of Worldbuilding here!

W is for Weapons & Warfare...
W is for Weapons & Warfare…

For once, I am writing this post mere hours before it needs to go up. Yes, I have run out of pre-written and scheduled posts for A-Z. At least there’s only four posts left, including this one, right?

And I kid you not, all I want to write for this post is “Weapons are stabby things. Go forth and describe them.” But I will make an effort to give you a decent post instead. Because I can’t not give all my effort when we’re so close to the end!

So moving on to the serious part of this post…

Weapons and warfare are a part of any society. As long as flawed creatures inhabit your worlds, weapons will be used against one another in some way.

Weapons will exist. Weapons did not necessarily come into being because of warfare – they are used to butcher livestock and to hunt, in addition to defense. Additionally, pretty much anything can be a weapon in the hands of a very determined – or angry – individual. Even if its original purpose was something else.


  • What resources are available for making weapons?

If they don’t have access to metal, weapons are going to be things like bows and arrows, quarterstaffs, clubs, etc.

If they do have access to metal, they must have a way to forge it.

  • What are the three most common weapons?

This will be dependent on a few factors – if weapons are in the hands of everyday people, how much they cost, and how easily they can be made.

  • What one weapon are your people really good at making, whether they are well-known for it or not?

Who makes the best balanced swords? The best bows? The truest arrows? Why?


  • What is the local terrain like?

Fighting styles develop where a culture resides. Long, open distances will necessitate a cavalry of some sort. Terrain with a lot of trees will possibly force warriors into the trees to fight, and in that case knowing how to climb trees and jump between them will give an army considerable advantage.

  • When have they been forced to adapt their fighting techniques, and was it a success?

For example, high altitudes will cause an invading force from lower altitudes to suffer from lack of oxygen, and possibly from a fluctuation in temperatures. If the reverse happens, the forces from the lower altitudes might be easily overwhelmed as the soldiers from the higher altitudes have increased stamina with increased oxygen.

  • Who is taught how to fight?

What is considered acceptable by your fictional culture? Can women learn to fight? Does anyone have to be a certain age? Are there any tests of strength that must be accomplished beforehand?

  • What level of knowledge or expertise is required before one can truly be considered a warrior?

How long does someone have to train or serve before they are considered good enough to function on their own as a warrior? Is it something that takes months, or years?

In Conclusion…

Weapons will always exist. Even if it’s just a stick used to hit someone, or a simple blade for butchering.

Be observant of the world you’ve created so far, and look at what would realistically happen based on the culture you’re working with.

Magic can also be a form of weaponry, depending on the rules you set up for that, but these principles will still apply. It is a weapon that requires extensive training, and a warfare that requires incredible stamina.

Original image used in header is by josephthethinker, public domain.

My intention is to turn the A-Zs of Worldbuilding into a workbook after the Challenge is finished. If you’d like to stay notified about that, you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Please make sure and select the A-Zs of Worldbuilding option!

Recent Comments

What do you think?

About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.