Weapons

For as long as there have been people there seem to have been weapons.

Weapons come in several categories:

Blunt

Common Types:

  • Club: The most basic weapon. At its simplest a club is just a thick, wooden stick. Surprisingly effective, and it has the benefit of being cheap and easy to make.
  • Flail - Has a large, round metal head attached to a handle by a long chain. The head may or may not have spikes. Flails can be dangerous to use, since there is always the chance that the head can swing around and hit you, but they have the advantage of being able to wrap around an enemy's shield and still strike a serious blow.
  • Hammer: This weapon has a head worked into flat planes resembling a common worker's tool only larger. But these aren't mean for working wood or stone. They are designed for smashing through tough, metal armor and shattering the body behind it.
  • Mace: Has a large, round, metal head on a short handle.
  • Morningstar: Similar to mace, but the head has spikes on it.

Slashing

Anything with a sharp edge used to slice and hack.

Common types:

  • Axe: A slashing blade on a handle, derived from the tool of the same name. Large two-handed versions are called battle axes; smaller, one-handed hand axes also sometimes see use as weapons.
  • Katana: A single-edged sword with a straight or slightly curved blade that is two to three feet in length. Katanas were first designed in Yamato and have seen use throughout the Eastern Regions; Rickkter uses one as his primary weapon. Unlike Western longswords, katanas are very rigid; the spine of the blade is very thick and tough, but the cutting edge is razor-sharp and prone to chipping. Also unlike Western swords, the katana is designed for slicing, not for chopping: proper use of the katana involves long, fluid cuts that drag almost the full length of the blade against the target. This technique helps to protect the sword from chipping and also gives it its legendary cutting power.
  • Sabre (or Saber): A single-edged sword almost identical to a scimitar, but with a heavy hand guard that covers the knuckles. Sabres are the chief slashing weapon used by cavalry troops, though they can also be used on foot.
  • Scimitar: A single-edged sword with a backward-curved blade. The shape of the blade concentrates more force at the point of impact, which makes the weapon more effective at slashing.1 A two-handed scimitar is called a falchion.
  • Seax: An ancient type of single-edged knife. Primarily used for eating by soldiers in the field, it could also be used as a weapon in extreme circumstances.
  • Other Swords: Includes the longsword2, shortsword3, bastard sword4, khopesh5, and many other types.
  • Wakizashi: Similar in design to a katana, but only about two feet long. Tessa carries two Elven blades that are essentially wakizashis, though the Elves have a different name for them.

Piercing/Thrusting

These weapons use a very sharp point to puncture skin, hide and armor and damage the body behind. Some of them have single- or double-edged blades, and thus resemble slashing weapons, but they are only used as thrusting weapons in combat because of the short length of the blade.

Most of these weapons fall under a subcategory called polearms — weapons attached to the end of a long pole. Polearms are designed to be used en masse: A group of spear- or pike-wielding soldiers will stand in closely packed ranks, shoulder to shoulder, with their weapons pointing outwards in a wall of sharp points. It gives them the look of a hedgehog or porcupine. It also makes them just as hard to defeat.

Common types:

Polearms:

  • Spear: The simplest piercing weapon, and the weapon most widely used in combat. It is literally a sharpened stick. Professionally-made ones are from 4 to 12 feet in length with a metal point on a rod of hard wood several inches thick.
  • Pike: A spear but considerably longer. Some used in the later Middle Ages were as much as 16 feet long.
  • Halberd: Basically a pike but with a cutting blade added onto the end just behind the point. It was meant to deal with the tougher armor like plate mail. The blade resembles those on a modern can opener because they are! Except these cans have people inside instead of food.

Other Piercing & Thrusting Weapons:

  • Dagger and knife: These differ from each other in the size and shape of the blade; daggers tend to have long, thin blades (though still shorter than a shortsword) and are double-edged, while knives are usually single-edged. Most people in the MK world carry some sort of knife or dagger at all times as a tool, the same way a modern person might carry a pocket knife or Swiss army knife.
  • Estoc: A variation on the longsword that was only recently designed by the weaponsmiths of Lanton for attacking knights in heavy armor. It has a stiff and sturdy blade, three to four feet long, with a triangular or diamond-shaped cross-section, no cutting edges, and a chiseled point. It is designed to split through the rings of chain mail, or find the joints and crevices in plate armor. It can be used as either a one-handed or two-handed weapon, and the handle is long enough to accommodate either. Metamor weaponsmiths have nicknamed it the "tuck".
  • Lance: A spear used by cavalry. These are usually around 12 feet long but some can be up to 16 feet. The power of a lance carried by a 200 lbs man riding a galloping 1 ton horse is incredible and there are few creatures that can withstand such an attack.
  • Shortsword: A double-edged blade with a chiseled point, typically between one and two feet long. Short swords have cutting edges but are generally used as thrusting weapons in combat, since this allows the wielder to hold his opponent at a greater distance. The gladius, the sword used by the Suielman legions during the empire's height, was a type of shortsword.
  • Side-sword: A long, slender one-handed sword that can be used for both cutting and thrusting. Appropriately enough, it is also called a cut-and-thrust sword. It is sometimes incorrectly called a "rapier" by fantasy authors; the true rapier was a pure thrusting weapon and did not appear until after 1600 CE.6

Missile weapons

Anything that can be launched over a distance — even a thrown rock. One problem with these is ammunition. Unlike a sword which is always ready and doesn't need to be reloaded. A crossbow does. A good, trained archer can shoot some eight arrows a minute and empty a quiver of 24 arrows in 3 minutes or less. And without arrows all an archer becomes is a really stressed soldier carrying an expensive stick. For that reason all archers and crossbowmen carry swords and axes.

Common types:

  • Sling - An ancient weapon but still very effective and used worldwide. The Suielman Empire used whole regiments of slingers. The most common ammunition used is a simple stone but lead bullets are also widely used. The lead bullets travel further and cause more damage. An expert slinger could launch a rock or a led bullet with amazing accuracy. And do not forget that David slew Goliath with a sling. A modern slinger recently easily hit a target (4 inches square) at two hundred yards with a stone moving over 60 miles per hour.
  • Bow: There are several different types of bows and there are different methods used for creating them. A good archer takes years to train and some say the best have to start training in childhood.
    • Self bow - A bow carved from a single piece of wood (the English preferred yew).
    • Composite - These bows are created using a mix of horn, wood, bone & sinew. They are more powerful then those carved from wood but they are a lot harder to make. Some of the glues could take months to cure properly.
    • Long - The long bow was made famous by the English, who used it to great effect for over three hundred years. It only fell out of use with the invention of effective muskets. The average long bow is at least five feet long (or more) and has a pull strength of 160 to 190 pounds.
    • Short - These weapons can be as small as 2 to 3 feet long and are usually used used from the back of a horse (or other mount) where a long bow would be too long.
  • Crossbow
    • Heavy - Large, unwieldy and slow to reload but possessing a frightening amount of power. There is literally no armor that a bolt launched from one of these weapons cannot penetrate. Often reloaded using a small winch.
    • Light
    • Hand - These small crossbows are easily used with one hand. Their small size makes them almost totally useless in combat except when the bolt tips are smeared with poison. Usually used for show or for hunting small game.
  • Spear - throwing. These are usually 4 to 5 feet long and when thrown can hit a target with considerable force.
  • Javelin - Smaller and lighter then a spear (usually 2 to 3 feet) and perfectly suited for throwing from horseback. Suielman infantry always carried two of them into combat. When a battle started they would throw them both in two massed volleys that always killed large numbers of the enemy. Then they would charge in and finish the fight with sword and axe.
  • Darts - Not more then a foot (or less) long. Their primary advantages are size and ease of use. A person can easily carry five or six of them with no problems.
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