In nearly every Role Playing Game (RPG) and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game I’ve played, clerics, paladins, crusaders and other “holy knight” types of characters were forced to wield blunt weapons – maces, hammers, clubs, flails, etc. – simply because the character type serves a holy role. I never understood this. Why would these types forgo cleaner, faster, and quite frankly sexier edged weapons? I’ve always liked my character to wield swords, mainly because they could lead to decapitations and such for kill moves. But that aside, edged weapons are usually lighter, faster and can cause just as much damage.
That was then, this is now.
I’m trying to flesh out the main character of my Skyrim story Vigilant (a link to it is in the top right corner BTW) who is a former soldier turned cleric and that’s why this is a big deal for me. Why would an experienced “sword and board” front-line soldier give up his primary weapon? Why would he throw away all the years of training and combat experience to start using a clunky hunk of metal? Why would he give up a huge advantage? Just because he’s devoted himself to a god service? (Faith not withstanding.)
You see Clerics (and all other “holy” archetypes) primary focus on dealing with the undead. Zombies, Skeletons, Liches, you get the drift. These enemies don’t contain any, or very little, flesh or “live” tissue for the edged weapons to hack at and damage. Edged weapons do most of their damage this way, causing an enemy to loose muscle, organs, and to bleed. Undead enemies don’t have these and they don’t bleed. They’re animated dead pieces and as such hacking pieces of the already dead flesh isn’t going to hurt them nearly as much as a blunt object breaking the animated pieces apart would.
So now, not only do I know why holy warriors favor blunt weapons, I now have an interesting bit to add to my story as well.