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Weapons, a signature of the wuxia hero

Weapons have traditionally been the device that defines the Wuxia hero- his signature tool, if you will. A while back, I was planning the weapons that my primary characters were going to be using, providing each with a unique and powerful item that more or less defines how the he or she looks and fights.  I had a brief struggle with it.  Spiderman has his web shooting.  Batman has his batmobile and plenty of other gadgets.  Superman has his lasers.  What are my superheroes going to pack in the martial arts world of ancient China?  Eventually, I settled on the three main characters using a thin black sword that is silent and hardly visible at night, a massive saber that cuts through other people’s weapons, and silver gloves that cannot be cut through, perfect for grabbing other people’s weapons.

And then I stumbled upon an interesting idea.  Who cares?  Weapons can be dropped and picked up by someone else, and instantly rendered meaningless.  Wuxia heroes should be defined by specific martial arts techniques, their super powers cannot leave them unless they’re severely injured, much like superman, and their superhuman strength can be channeled through any object, not necessarily a special weapon.  And so I had my characters trade their weapons with each other.  Their style of kung fu is the defining characteristic that the rest of the martial arts world, and most importantly the reader, should recognize them for.  But inventing those weapons was still pretty cool.

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