Tag Archives: debochira

Suppose someone has superhuman strength (specifics: capable of lifting a stone statue 15 feet tall with both hands and minor strain) and they land a punch. What kind of damage would be plausible for the head/jaw, chest, belly, and limbs, assuming the aforementioned body parts are uncovered? I’m initially thinking of outright pulverization and shattered bone, essentially a car smashing into them, but is that too far/little of a stretch?

Well, bone pulverization is a real risk for your character.

There’s a simple solution, but first, let’s talk about strength, and what
that means when your character is inhumanly strong.

Even without a superpower, your body is strong enough to tear itself apart.
The classic examples are improperly tensed punches, which can do all kinds of
horrible things to your hands, and improperly lifting heavy objects, which can
tear up your back.

Personal experience has seen both of us do pretty horrific things to our own
bodies without needing super strength.

Adding superhuman strength to the mix just exacerbates this. Your character
can lift a statue, but it will do horrific things to the weakest structural
point on their body. This is not a function of lacking the strength to lift it;
it’s the result of their spine being strained beyond its breaking point.

One really good example is, if you have a character with cybernetic arms,
you need to anchor those to their spine, reinforce that and their legs, or
they’ll be able to rip their own arms off by picking up a car.

If you can throw a punch with sufficient force to send a midsize sedan
flying, you will break every bone in your hand, (and possibly shatter
your arm.) Even using proper techniques. Your body simply isn’t built to handle
that kind of force. Also, it’s not going to send the car flying, I’ll come back
to that in a minute.

The simple solution is to also make your character inhumanly resilient to
damage. This has some other considerations. The same resilience that allows
them to actually punch someone at full force will protect them (to some extent)
from the people they’re fighting.

This isn’t the only possible solution. For example: a character who can
reassemble their body on the spot, no matter how mangled it becomes could use
super-strength, with the understanding that they’d need to spend a few minutes
putting their arm back together after they reduced their foe to goulash.

Without any additional powers, super strength becomes a very tricky thing to
use. Your character could still have it, but need to be very careful with how
they use it, and pull their punches. Not because they’re concerned about their
opponent’s well being, but because they don’t want to destroy their own body.

That said, a character with super strength can literally tear their foes to pieces, if they choose to. Using the
statue example, you’re already talking about a character that exceeds the
tolerances of the human body to a comedic degree.

So, the simple answer to, “how much damage” is probably, “chunky salsa.”

I mentioned that the car wouldn’t go flying a minute ago, so let’s explain
the problem. Your average car weighs around 3000 to 4000 lbs. Your average super
hero weighs between 100 and 250 lbs. When your character tries to punch that
car, the force will go both ways, and the relative masses become far more
important than how strong your character is to determining who will win. With
proper bracing, they can probably kick the car a few feet, but without
something to brace against that extra strength doesn’t translate into airtime
when you’re tossing around improbably large objects.

This doesn’t mean your character would throw a punch at a car, and go flying
in the opposite direction (they’re far more likely to find their hand embedded halfway into it, because the force has to go somewhere), but it does mean they’re not going to be
able to use a ’57 Chevy as an improvised club.

Again, this is something that characters who can flat out violate the laws
of physics can get away with. A character who can rechannel kinetic energy, or lock
themselves into their environment, can start to fundamentally mess with how
mass behaves. They’re not a 150lb guy grabbing a car; they are a 150lb guy who is
functionally fused into the city street, tossing around a car. Also a character
who can alter their own effective mass on the fly could lead to some really absurd
Berserk like combat sequences.

Alternately, you can have characters that pick up the car, try to throw it,
and send themselves flying in the opposite direction. It’s not exactly realistic, but there’s comedic merit
to the approach.

So, the basic advice for this is, study some basic physics, and have fun
with the absolutely insane things you never thought of before.


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron.

In media, throwing swords and knives and even axes almost always works. In reality, assuming you were aiming at a stationary target with nothing in the way, just how effective would throwing a bladed weapon be?

This might sound like a cop out, but it depends on what the weapon is. Specific dedicated throwing weapons did exist. Off hand the Javelin comes to mind (I know, it’s not what you’re thinking of, but there it is). Dedicated throwing knives do exist. I’m not sure if there were dedicated throwing axe designs, or if it was just re-purposing convenient hand axes.

Getting hit with a javelin is bad news. Some varieties, like the Roman Pilum, were designed to penetrate shields. The Pilum was also reportedly able to punch through armor, due to its design. It also sidestepped the real problem with most thrown weapons: Even if you kill someone in the process, you’re giving your enemies an extra weapon to use on you.

Getting hit with a flying axe is not going to do you any favors. Axe strikes are nasty, and having one lobbed into you is close enough.

It’s one of those weird cases where, I know it happened, but I don’t know much about it’s actual use in warfare.

Modern axe throwing is usually end over end. With the axe spinning on the point of balance. You can find videos of this pretty easily. As with knife throwing, it’s a hobby for some people, and you can even buy targets marketed for throwing axes. The modern throwing axes I’ve seen favor a single large curved blade on the head, and a haft that curves towards the blade. I have no idea if that’s just ergonomics, or if it actually helps with throwing. I suspect the latter, but, that’s just a guess.

The one thing I’m fairly sure of is you weren’t throwing your only axe. You’d throw spares, so you still had a weapon on you. The last thing you want to do is give someone else your last weapon.

Throwing knives are really more of a party trick than a viable combat option. It’s one of these things where films and media makes it look a lot more useful than it actually is. In the handful of situations where you just need to put a knife in that guy over there, and walking 15 feet sounds too much like work, throwing a knife is a legitimate option. Otherwise, you’re better off delivering it by hand. Into their kidney or through their favorite artery.

Or you could shoot them. There’s no risk of them throwing the bullet back. Just a thought.

Dedicated throwing daggers tend to be just a blade without much, or any grip, since a knife is usually thrown by gripping the tip between the thumb and forefinger, and flicking the wrist while releasing the blade. I’ve never been able to get the hang of it, though I do have a real knack for misjudging the spin and connecting with the target with the handle.

Throwing swords is a very bad idea. It did happen. There’s actually surviving training manuals that talk about it, and suggest methods. Those same training manuals will also call you an idiot, well, technically a “knave,” for even considering it, but, it can be done.

Historically, a thrown sword would be gripped over the shoulder, across the guard, fingers toward the pommel, palm on the flat of the blade, and then thrown in line with the blade, like a spear.

I want to say actual use of this was mostly restricted to judicial duels, but, I’m not completely certain. Judicial duels would also see combatants bringing swords with threaded pommels, unscrewing them before the duel and then throwing it as a distraction. There’s a lot of question as to how, exactly, that worked, but it does pop up in training manuals as something to do or worry about your opponent doing.