Weapons of the Sundered Spheres © 2011
These are all historical weapons, but some of the descriptions are specific to the Sundered Spheres, or have histories related to nations or peoples of the Sundered Spheres instead of Earth. I wrote all these descriptions myself, and organized them into classifications that make it easy to divide them up according to social rank.
Farm Tools (short): Chain, Hammer, Hatchet, Fire-iron, Knife, Machete, Mallet, Pry bar, Sickle
Farm Tools (long): Adze, Broad-axe, Hayfork, Hoe, Mattock, Maul, Pick, Pruning hook (Bill), Scythe, Shepherd's crook, Shovel (Spade), Sledgehammer, Spit, Threshing flail, Threshing staff, Woodsman's axe
Common Weapons (short): Baton, Club, Cudgel, Hand-axe, Seax, Tomahawk, Walking staff
Common Weapons (long): Great club, Guard spear, Hunting spear, Quarterstaff, Trident, War club
Common Weapons (Distance): Crossbow, Dart, Harpoon, Hunting bow, Javelin, Sling, Staff sling (fustibal), Throwing axe (Francisa), Throwing club
Infantry Weapons (short): Ball & chain, Battle-axe, Bearded war-axe, Bipennis, Crow's bill, Mace & Chain, Military pick, Morning star (Holy water sprinkler), War hammer
Infantry Weapons (long): Awlspeiss, Awl Pike, Berdiche, Chacing staff, Fauchard, Flail, Glaive (Bill), Guisarme, Gyrson Axe (Sparth Axe), Halberd, Hewing Spear, Jedburg Axe, Lochaber Axe, Long spear, Lucerne Hammer, Military flail, Military fork, Partizan, Pike, Plançon a Picot, Spetum, Voulge, War spear
Infantry Weapons (Distance): Angon, Arbalest (Double), Arbalest (Heavy), Arbalest (Medium), Pelta, Longbow, Saunion, War bow.
Cavalry/Chivalric Weapons (short): Bulawa, Horseman's axe, Horseman's flail, Horseman's hammer, Horseman's pick, Mace, Sabar, Tabar
Cavalry/Chivalric Weapons (long): Bec-de-corbin, Boar spear, Contus, Demi-lance, Lance (heavy), Lance (light), Langue de Beve (Ox-tongue), Runka (Ranseur),
Cavalry/Chivalric Distance Weapons: Arbalest (light), Horse bow (kaman), Jarid (javelin)
Infantry Swords: Baselard, Bastard sword, Baudelaire, Broadsword, Cinqueada, Claymore, Cutlass, Dagesse, Doppelhander, Falchion, Flambard, Gladius, Katzbalger, Xiphos
Cavalry/Chivalric Swords: Arming sword, Banshier, Cousitlle, , Karabela, Longsword, Palasch, Saddle sword, Sayf, Tucke, Yataghan
Civilian Swords: Brette, Colichemarde, Court sword, Dueling sword
Obsolete Swords: Dvasam, Falx, Khepesh, Kopis
Banshier, Brandistock, Man-catcher, Matched Longbow, Poll-axe, Sap/Sap-staff, Spiked Targe, Sword-shield
Weapon Descriptions by Class
Farm Tools (short)
Chain: a length of iron or bronze links, ranging from 12-36" in length, used as a weapon of last resort. Hard to control, it can cause serious crushing and ripping damage to a foe if used effectively. The addition of a hook or weight to one end increases its damage potential.
Hammer: a blunt iron or bronze cylinder attached to a wooden haft about 12-16" in length. Used for pounding in wooden pegs or nails of copper, bronze or iron, it can be used as a weapon very easily, but has little effect against armored opponents.
Hatchet: a small hand-axe with a 3-4" blade and a 16-20" haft designed for chopping wood with one hand. A fairly effective weapon at short range, it can also be thrown though it is poorly balanced for throwing. A hatchet can be used with two hands but only at very close range.
Fire-iron: a length of iron used to work with a cook-fire or camp-fire, usually from 18-24" in length with a slightly pointed end. Used as a bludgeoning weapon a fire-iron can be quite effective, though it is too soft for use against armor. It is also very good at blocking and blunting swords, though it can only be used for a few parries before it is ruined.
Knife: a short, single-edged bladed tool with a wooden or bone grip. There are hundreds of varieties of knife, used for many different purposes from cooking to whittling. A common knife has a 8" blade with a triangular section and a 4" grip. Though it can be thrown ordinary knives are not balanced for it. Because of its relatively thin blade, a knife is not much use against armor, but can be extremely dangerous as a thrusting or slashing weapon.
Machete: a longer version of the knife used for cutting back vegetation, the machete can only be used as a slashing weapon. An ordinary machete will have a 12-24" blade with a triangular section, but very thin even on the back, making it useless against armor. Dangerous against flesh, it is one of the most effective emergency weapons on a farm unless an attacker is armored.
Mallet: a wooden hammer consisting of a wooden cylinder with a wooden shaft fastened to it, usually about 16-24" in length. Though light enough to allow for quick, powerful blows, the wooden head is not strong enough to damage armor, and has trouble even breaking bones. Though effective in skilled hands, it can be easily deflected or broken by shields or steel weapons.
Pry bar: a thick, heavy iron bar with clawed or wedge-shaped ends, used for gaining leverage. Any version with a crooked or bent end will be called a crow bar. The largest pry bars might be 60" long, but they are too heavy to be used as weapons; a small 24-36" pry bar is light enough for the necessary speed, and strong enough to withstand the blows of very powerful swords. The sturdiness of a pry bar makes it effective against armor, though only in bludgeoning; it may be possible to stun or break the bones of an armored man, but to kill him with a pry bar it's usually necessary to remove the armor. A pry bar may be used with two hands, and can be thrown short distances.
Sickle: a knife with a long curved blade, edged on the inside, used for cutting stalks of grain. Most sickles are about 12-15 inches long and describe 50-75% of a circle and are very hard to use as weapons. Ineffective against armor, it can be deadly against flesh.
Farm Tools (long):
Adze: a bladed tool like an axe but with an arched blade at right angles to the haft, used for cutting or shaping large pieces of wood, usually with a 4-5" blade and a 36" haft. Though extremely effective against unarmored foes, the adze is too light for use against armor.
Broad-axe: a heavy axe with a straight-edged, broad head, usually with a flat back, used as a wedge for splitting logs and in conjunction with an adze in shaping large pieces of wood. The blade is usually 5-6" broad, and the haft is 36-42". Very effective against unarmored opponents, it can also be used more as a bludgeoning weapon against armor, though like the pry bar, it can usually only stun or break the bones of an armored foe.
Hayfork: a two- to four-pronged tool with 12-16" straight or curved tines and a 40-60" haft, designed to fork hay or straw. Very effective against unarmored foes, the tines can sometimes penetrate armor if the wielder is very strong, but usually it has little effect on armor.
Hoe: essentially a very light adze, a hoe is used for turning soil and cutting weeds. Of very little use as a weapon, it has a 4-5" blunt blade and a 40-48" haft, and is completely ineffective against armor.
Mattock: a bladed tool used for digging in rocky soil or even into rock, a mattock is like a very heavy adze, with a thick, somewhat blunt blade at right angles to the haft. The blade is usually 4-5" wide, and the haft 40-56" long. Though generally too heavy and slow to be a very effective weapon, a very strong wielder can use it to penetrate armor.
Maul: a very large mallet, with a wooden cylinder of 8-12" in diameter and a haft about 1.5" in diameter and 48-54" long. Though it is relatively light, the maul is fairly difficult to wield as a weapon, and while it can deliver powerful crushing blows, it has little effect on armor, not least because each blow is diffused by the size of the head.
Pick: a tool with a narrow mattock or chisel on one side and a pointed end on the other, used for breaking up hard ground or rock. The chisel side may be up to 3" in width, while the spike will be relatively blunt but very strong. The thick, heavy haft may be over 2" in diameter near the head, though it will normally be 1.5" or less where it is handled. Though able to deliver powerful strikes and to penetrate armor with ease, a pick is not a very good weapon due to its weight and slow speed. A pick can kill almost any foe, if it can hit him (or it; even a bear is not immune), but only an extremely strong person should use it if there are other options.
Pruning hook (Bill): a long, curved knife on the end of a pole, used for cutting small branches from trees. The blade is usually hooked and sharpened on the inside of the curve, and can be from 12-18" long. The shaft is usually 6-10" long, and sometimes may have metal or leather tubes that allow additional sections to be added for greater length. An extremely effective weapon against everything except plate armor, a pruning hook or bill is actually the basis for most other polearms.
Scythe: a tool with a long, curved blade at the end of a pole with one or two short handles, used for cutting crops in long, wide swathes. The blade varies from 16-36" in length and is sharpened on the concave side. It is set at an angle to the haft which ranges from 42-60." When used with skill a scythe can be deadly, but it is useless against plate armor and very difficult to use as a weapon, because it's necessary to pull your enemy toward you with each attack.
Shepherd's crook: a long wooden pole with a rounded end used for pulling sheep. Though useless against armor, a well-seasoned crook can be used very effectively against unarmored opponents. It can deliver crushing blows with one end, and the hooked end can be used to trip or grapple an opponent. A shepherd's crook can be used with one or two hands.
Shovel (Spade): a tool with a flat or curved blade with a round or pointed end and a 48-54" haft. The blade is usually large, 8-10" by 8-12," and is used for moving dirt or any other material needed. Some also have flat ends, but this is unusual. An ineffective weapon, the edges are too blunt to cut, and the blade is too light to bludgeon, but in a pinch it can be very useful, and the blade can be used to parry even powerful sword-cuts. If used with skill, a shovel or spade can break bones through any armor except plate.
Sledgehammer: a large hammer with a round, heavy cylinder of iron or bronze at one end, used for breaking rocks or pounding in stakes or wedges. Though capable of breaking bones and heads, and denting or crushing even the best plate armor, the sledgehammer is a slow weapon, heavy and unwieldy. The thick 48-54" haft can easily parry sword-blows, but the head is so heavy that it takes great strength to get it moving.
Spit: a long metal pole, usually of iron, used for roasting meat over a fire, from 48-66" in length. Though one end is pointed, a spit is too thin for use against plate armor, but against unarmored opponents it is deadly, being both quick and light. Some believe that the Seibarino thrusting swords that have begun to be found outside Sabarra are based on this improvised weapon, others say that the ancient Kythonic kargh was inspired by a cooking spit. It may be used with one or two hands, and can be thrown like a javelin for short distances.
Threshing flail: two poles connected by a very short chain, often only a single link, with the shorter of the two, usually about 24-30" long, being weighted or shod with metal, while the longer pole or haft is 48-50." Used to thresh grain by beating it, this tool is a very good weapon, both quick and powerful, and capable of dealing deadly crushing attacks. Though not particularly useful against plate armor, it is still possible to stun an armored foe, even break bones. It requires skill to be used effectively, however, as it can wound the wielder.
Threshing staff: a long flexible pole with one end weighted or shod with metal, usually about 72" long. Used to thresh grain like a Threshing flail, this less complex tool is both easier to use and less deadly as a weapon. Because of its flexibility it delivers very powerful blows, but also because of its flexibility it is prone to breaking, and can be easily deflected by almost any other weapon. If used with skill, it can break the bones of or stun a plate-armored foe, but it is much more effective against unarmored opponents.
Woodsman's axe: a simple axe with a curved blade about 4" across, and a curved haft about 40-54" long. Used for chopping down trees and cutting wood, it can be used as a weapon, though it is a little heavy and not well suited to cutting people. It's edge can't penetrate plate armor, but its head is heavy enough to buffet the foe inside, and many are equipped with a spike on the reverse which can penetrate armor. A skilled wielder can use a woodsman's axe with one or both hands, and if very skilled, can even throw it effectively.
Common Weapons (short):
Baton: a simple round pole about an inch in diameter and 36-42" in length, often used in a pair, and wielded like a sword. Some will be shod with metal on one end, making them more like a mace, but most are just wood. Ineffective against armor, a baton can easily break bones and heads against unarmored foes.
Club: a length of wood used to bludgeon a foe, with no standard of shape or size. To be effective a club needs to be thinner at the end it's held by, and should be at least an inch thick at that point. The knot of a branch or the knob of a root at the far end often increases its power. Usually less than 36" long, there is no rule as to length. Ineffective against plate armor, a club with a particularly thick and tough end can sometimes break bones under mail or other flexible armors. A club can be used two-handed, and can be thrown, though it will only rarely fly true.
Cudgel: almost exactly like a club, a cudgel is much more carefully made. While a club might be picked up from anywhere, a cudgel has been shaped to taper at the grip and widen at the tip, and may be wrapped with leather or wire for additional strength and a better grip. Usually about 32-36" long, it can be used two-handed, and can break bones under any flexible armor, and may be able to stun a foe wearing plate armor.
Hand-axe: a small axe that can be used as a weapon, often also used as a tool, with a 20-26" haft and a 3-4" head, which may be curved or straight on the edge. Light and quick, a hand-axe is an excellent weapon against lightly- or unarmored foes, but has almost no ability against armor. Some are equipped with a spike on the reverse, and these can often penetrate even plate armor, but because they have such little reach and such a light head, such attacks are often too dangerous to the wielder. A hand-axe can be thrown fairly well to a maximum range of 25 yards, though it is balanced for hand-to-hand combat. It can be wielded with both hands in tight quarters.
Seax: a big knife or short sword, a seax has a single-edged, straight blade where the blunt back tapers down to a sharp point, usually about 20-24" overall. The hilt usually has only a ring of metal for a guard, and has either a disc for a pommel or no pommel at all. Extremely effective in close quarters, it cannot easily penetrate armor, though it is short enough to get through any gaps. Many farmers keep a seax instead of a machete, as it can also be used for clearing brush.
Tomahawk (also Chorax, Tawarak): a small, thin-bladed axe designed to fulfill several roles, usually about 18-24" long with a 2-2.5" flat-edged axe-head. The haft of a tomahawk increases in diameter as it gets longer, from about 1" at the grip to 1.75" in the socket of the axe-head. It usually has a hammer-head on the reverse, but may have a spike or fluke instead. Balanced for throwing or hand-to-hand combat, it is versatile and deadly, though of little use against mail or plate armor. Often carried by scouts and foresters, it can be used as a camp axe as well as a weapon, and is light enough to be easily carried simply thrust through the belt. The maximum effective range for throwing is 30 yards, though a very strong wielder may increase that range.
Walking staff: a long, slender length of wood with a metal knob on both ends, usually with a point on the lower knob, ranging from 35-48" in length. While it can be used as a cane by those with unsteady feet, it is usually carried to have a weapon in places where weapons are not allowed, such as market days in towns or cities. Wielded like a sword, and made of the strongest possible wood, it can be very effective, and the metal point at the bottom has been known to penetrate plate armor, though this is uncommon, as it is rarely pitted against armor of any kind. It may be wielded either one- or two-handed, and may be hurled like a javelin, though it's lower point is not really intended to function as a spear.
Common Weapons (long):
Great club: a large, two-handed club, usually unshaped and made from a large tree-branch or root. A good great club should taper from the grip out to the end, and will be fairly point-heavy. Able to deliver terrible smashing blows, it is only partially effective against plate-armor, as it can stun or incapacitate an armored foe pretty well. It's only real problem is its weight and speed; it is a slow weapon, and only a strong wielder can last long in combat with such a heavy weapon.
Guard spear: a spear with a long, narrow spear-head of about 12-18," and a 48-60" shaft of 1-1.5" in thickness. The spear-head is shaped like an isosceles triangle, with a thick rib down the center, and the edges are kept razor sharp. The butt is covered by a pointed metal cap, so that both ends can be used. Quick and deadly, a guard spear is used by town watchmen, castle guards, and others who are working in confined spaces. It can penetrate plate-armor with a thrust, deflect sword blows with the seasoned shaft, and slash unarmored foes with its edges.
Hunting spear: like all spears, this is a knife on the end of a pole. A hunting spear, however, has an a narrow, pointed spear-head and a shaft only about 60-66" long. A hunting spear can be thrown very accurately, but also is effective in close-quarters. It can be used one- or two-handed, and is very light and quick. Despite its small point, a hunting spear is useless against armor due to the slender shaft, but is deadly against unarmored foes.
Quarterstaff: a long wooden pole which may be shaped or simply a relatively straight branch with the smaller branches cut away, usually 60-72" in length and about 1.5-2" in diameter. A good quarterstaff has the bark removed and the wood smoothed, and may even be metal clad at both ends. While the quarterstaff itself is not a particularly deadly weapon except when used against unarmored foes, it's practice is considered essential as many of the skills learned in quarterstaff bouts can be translated into wielding a spear or pole-arm. Used in a fluid, whirling style, it can block most sword cuts, can break heads and bones, and buffet those wearing armor, though it cannot penetrate plate armor and rarely can even stun a foe so armored. Too long to use one-handed, a quarterstaff can be hurled like a spear or javelin, though it can do little damage even if it strikes true.
Trident: this fisherman's tool can be a very effective weapon, though it is of little use against armor. With three tines, the sides shorter than the center, it is very similar to a hay-fork, but the tines are barbed the better to drag fish up from the water. The shaft of a trident varies from 6-8' long, while the tines are usually 8-10" in length, the central tine being 2-3" longer. While it is deadly against unarmored flesh, its tendency to lodge in the wound makes it not very effective when fighting a group. It's wide-spaced tines can parry swords or other weapons very well, and if used with skill can break them. The butt is also normally equipped with a spike, which can penetrate plate armor if a foe holds really still.
War club: while really a holdover from ancient times, a war club can be a very dangerous weapon if properly formed. There are several varieties, but most are long and curved, flaring toward the lower end. Below the grip is a knob to for balance, and the grip itself is usually about 1.5" in diameter, and expands only a little to the sides, while the depth increases to 5-6" at the end, usually about 40-46" from the knob or pommel. This narrow wooden structure focusses power more easily than a round club, and many have a spike set into the outer curve to increase its wounding potential. While unable to penetrate plate armor, a well-handled war club can easily break limbs and even heads through any armor, and is strong enough to break many sword blades. Always made of dense, seasoned wood, it is one of the few effective weapons available to those without access to much iron or steel, and its speed makes it possible to fight even against swords and spears. Though often disdained for its antiquity, it remains in use in many forested regions where iron is dear and hardwoods plentiful.
Common Weapons (Distance):
Crossbow: this is a small self bow set crosswise on the end of a wooden stock or tiller, with a simple hook and trigger to release the bowstring. The arms of the bow are often wrapped with cord or leather to keep them from breaking. The bow is about 30" and the stock about 36-42" long, and the quarrels it shoots are like small arrows of about 12-18." Though more powerful than a common hunting bow, a basic crossbow has disadvantages in speed and exposure to the elements, but is much easier to learn. With a pull weight of around 60-80 pounds, it can be spanned by hand, so giving relatively weak men (and women) a weapon of higher effectiveness than their own muscles can easily produce. Also known as a light crossbow, this weapon can do little against plate armor, unlike the more powerful arbalests, but against mail or even brigandine it is quite dangerous. The maximum effective distance is about 150 yards, but accuracy vanishes after about 50 yards.
Dart: there are many variety of darts used for games, but the version used for combat is a short, stubby spike with either four wooden or metal 'feathers' at the rear, or a string and counterweight depending from a small ring at the rear. A dart is not generally thrown directly at an object, as it is difficult to gain enough speed with a flat trajectory, but instead is launched by hand at a 45° angle to add gravity's power to its flight. As such this is not much use in close quarters, though it can be hurled short distances against unarmored opponents with some effect. Against armor, however, it must be tossed a good distance, and even then it is only occasionally able to penetrate even hardened leather. It is much more useful against horses, for many knights armor only the front of their horses and a dart in the rump can spoil a knight's charge very easily. The maximum effective range of a dart is 25 yards, and if accuracy is desired, 15 yards.
Harpoon: this long, thin, barbed metal spear of about 60-84" is used for fishing and whaling, and though poorly designed for war, it can be very effective against unarmored foes. It's broad, barbed head merely shatters against plate armor, and rarely can break the links of chain mail. It can be used like a pilum, however, if it lodges in a shield it may bend and remove the shield from a foe. The maximum range is 35 yards.
Hunting bow: this small self bow is made of a single bent piece of wood and a springy cord sometimes made from animal sinews, and ranges from 48-54" in length. A grip at the center of the arc will often be wrapped in leather, cord, or even shagreen, as will the tips. With a pull weight of anything from 25 to 80 pounds, it is powerful enough to penetrate light armor, but is usually ineffective against mail or plate armor. Most hunting arrows are broad-tipped and designed to kill animals, and fare very badly against even light armor, but 'gimlet' headed arrows can sometimes penetrate mail. Requiring a good deal of skill to use with any accuracy, it is used in war only when there is no other choice. The maximum effective distance of a hunting bow is 200 yards, but even a good archer cannot shoot consistently at targets over 50 yards.
Javelin (or Hisst): a small spear designed for throwing, often with a very long metal head, ranging from 42-60" in length. There are many types of javelins, most being pointed at both ends with a long, narrow spike for a head and shorter spike on the butt. Some have broader heads for dealing with animals or unarmored foes, and some have actual feathers, or even wooden fins to aid in flight. When used in numbers they can be deadly, and a shower of javelins can break up a charge of armored knights, however it is a rare javelin that pierces plate armor, and mail is only a little more susceptible. Thrown at short range a strong man can pierce plate armor, but even then it is a chancy thing. Even if used as a two-handed spear it is unlikely to work, because it is too light, being designed for flight. Even so, many a knight carries a few javelins beside his saddle just in case, and every castle has barrels of them in strategic locations. The longest effective range of a javelin is about 50 yards, though a very strong thrower may increase that by several yards.
Sling: a small patch of leather with two strings, the sling is one of the simplest of all weapons, and one very difficult to learn. It is used to increase the speed and power of a thrown stone or lead ball, and against unarmored opponents it is very deadly, being able to kill at 75 yards. Against armor it is helpless, as even a padded aketon can withstand its force. Favored by shepherds and travelers who require a weapon that is light and easy to carry, it can also be used in close quarters combat as a sap, though it remains useless against armor.
Staff sling (also Fustibal): this weird weapon is just a sling set atop a 40-56" shaft, and hurls a stone or lead bullet much farther and faster than a hand-held sling, with an effective range of over 120 yards. It is still ineffective against armor, however, and is used mainly by pilgrims and other lightly-armed travelers who have need for a walking staff as well as a missile weapon. The shaft can be used as a baton in a pinch, and often has a metal spike on the butt which has a slight chance of penetrating armor. While very accurate to about 50 yards, it is almost impossible to aim at anything beyond that, though it still has enough power to kill well beyond.
Throwing axe (also francisa): a small, light axe specially balanced for throwing, usually about 18-20" long with a 2-2.5" head. Very rarely it will be a double-axe. This weapon is often used first, though it is never a principle weapon, but flung at a foe before closing. Even if it does no damage it can lodge in the shield and unbalance it, and a lucky throw can end the battle before it begins. The thin, sharp axe-head is very dangerous against unarmored foes, and while it requires skill and practice to use, it can be very accurate. Often used against magicians as it is easier to throw than a knife and more likely to get in the way even if it does not wound a foe. Useless against plate armor, it has been known to cut through mail, though this is usually the result of great strength or pure luck. The thin haft makes it ineffective in hand-to-hand combat, though in a pinch it will do. A throwing axe has a maximum effective range of 20 yards.
Throwing club: a piece of wood shaped to be thrown, often between 20-24" in length and usually curved. Though ineffective against every sort of armor, this light weapon can be used for hunting small animals, and may trip up even an armored foe if used with skill. Of very little use against human or human-like foes, it may still cause them to flinch and give the wielder an extra second or two for reaction. Maximum effective range is 15 yards.
Infantry Weapons (short):
Ball & chain: this weapon consists of an iron ball welded to a chain with a handle at the other end. It can be whirled into extremely powerful crushing blows, and can dent plate armor and crush the bones or head beneath. It is relatively easy to fend off with a shield, and has limited reach, being only about 30-42" from grip to ball. It is also fairly hard to use, and requires a lot of space to wield, as it must be swung in wide arcs to be effective.
Battle-axe: a large axe with a relatively short haft of about 32-40" often wrapped with leather or wire that can be used one- or two-handed. The axe-head is usually about 6-8" on the rounded edge, and sometimes has a spike or hammer-head on the reverse. It flares widely from the socket, expanding from 3" to the wide edge, while simultaneously getting ever thinner. The edge has a triangular section, and is capable of cutting through bone with ease, while chain mail is a bit harder. Plate armor can deflect a battle-axe with relative ease, but in skilled hands it has been known to cut through helm and pauldron, especially when used two-handed. A battle-axe can also be thrown up to 10 yards, though it is not balanced for throwing.
Bearded war-axe: very similar to the battle-axe, the bearded war-axe is of the same shape and size, but has a wider axe-head, from 12-15" wide, with a long 'beard' or squared off fluke on the lower side. This gives it a broader edge, while in other respects it is exactly the same as a battle-axe. It can also be wielded one- or two-handed, can be thrown up to 10 yards with difficulty, but against unarmored or lightly armored opponents it is more devastating.
Bipennis: a double-headed axe with rounded edges of about 10-12" on both sides with a haft from 32-44" long. The versatility of having an edge on either side is a great advantage of the bipennis over the battle-axe or bearded war-axe, but it is also heavier and hence slower so its abilities are very similar. It too can be used with one or both hands, and can be thrown about 8 yards with extreme difficultly (and both hands). The axe-heads of a bipennis are usually symmetrical both with each other and above an below' they describe a perfect wedge shape with points both above and below, and these points give it additional versatility, as it can be used to thrust with as well as cut. This makes it more effective against plate armor than other axes, but it is still inferior to swords and spikes designed to pierce armor because it diffuses the strength of a thrust into two points of attack.
Crow's bill: a very simple weapon like a pick designed to pierce plate armor, the crow bill is a spike of 6-10" in length set at right angles to a wooden or steel haft of 24-36." The spike may be an inch broad at the base, and is made as hard as possible to pierce plate armor and the flesh beneath. Light and quick, it can be used to parry or counter swords or spears, but is not very versatile, and is relatively easy to fend off with shield or even gauntlet. The biggest problem is that it gets stuck in the armor it penetrates, and so if not instantly fatal to the foe, can be immediately fatal to the wielder. The crow's bill can be used one- or two-handed.
Mace and chain: this is nothing more than a ball & chain with spikes set in the ball, and a handle long enough to be used with either or both hands, from about 36-46" in length over all. Quick and deadly, the mace and chain has the unfortunate tendency to get stuck in plate armor, and the spikes are often not long enough to penetrate very far into a enemy's body. Likewise it can be easily stuck a shield, and while it will often make the shield unusable, it also is lost to the wielder. Used against any foes wearing other armor (and without shields) it is very deadly, and while it requires space to use, can be very effective if used by a skilled warrior.
Military pick: a larger version of the crow's bill, a military pick is about 36-42" in length and has a small axe-head on one side and a 10-12" spike on the other. While it can be wielded with one hand, it is more effective with two, and has the capacity to break or penetrate plate armor very well. The haft, always wood, is protected by metal langets so that it can be used to parry other weapons without breaking, and the grip is usually wrapped with wire or leather. The axe-head is usually only about 5-6" long with a 2-3" edge, while the spike may be 2" at the base, either square or six-sided. The long spike or 'beak' can penetrate any armor, and is less likely to be stuck than a crow's bill. Because it is normally used two-handed without a shield, it is often wielded by a soldier who works as part of a team, often with an arbalestier, and many pick-men carry the large pavisse that protects them as well as their comrade.
Morning star (also Holy water sprinkler): a spiked iron ball or cylinder on the end of a 2" thick wooden pole, usually about 5-6" in diameter with a 36-42" haft, and sometimes equipped with a thrusting spike of 3". This weapon is heavy and slow, but capable of dealing powerful blows that can dent or penetrate plate armor. Often wielded two-handed, it also may be stuck in the armor it crushes, though this is relatively rare, as the spikes are very short and may be pyramid-shaped. Because it is not very quick, it can be countered easily by other weapons, and in the present times is considered inferior to the military pick.
War hammer: very similar to the military pick is the war hammer. It is 28-38" in length, with a 6-8" spike on one side and a 3-5" hammer-head on the other, with langets protecting the haft. Many of these hammer-heads are not blunt, but have a single or several pyramid-shaped spikes. In addition it will frequently have a spike jutting from the top. Because it is a little lighter than the military pick, the war-hammer is often wielded one-handed, but in a pinch can be used two-handed to break into plate armor. It is also light enough to be carried thrust through the belt, and so is sometimes a secondary weapon for archers or arbalestiers. Effective against most forms of armor, it is relatively difficult to use against swords, and so is still considered inferior by most men-at-arms.
Infantry Weapons (long):
Awlspeiss (also awl-spear, spike-spear): this odd weapon was designed to penetrate plate armor in Albar, and consists of a long metal spike of square or hexagonal cross-section jutting from a wooden haft. The spike is usually 18-24" long, and the haft 48-60" with a disk-shaped guard or vamplate to protect the hand. Capable of deflecting sword-cuts and piercing the thickest armor, it remains a bit slow and unwieldy, and is very point-heavy. Many of these weapons have a counterweight on the butt, making it even heavier if better balanced. Often used in tight quarters.
Awl Pike: a very long spear with a needle-pointed spike or awl for a spear-head. An awl pike may be 16-20' long, and often has a counterweight on the butt. Used only in large formations, it is practically useless in single combat.
Berdiche (also Bantharb): a large, double-handed axe with a very long edge of 18-24" and a fluke on the reverse, about 48-54" in length. The lower end of the blade is usually connected to the haft. Heavy and bulky, the berdiche is best used in formation, for it is too slow for single combat. Even so, it's powerful edge can sheer through mail or plate armor, and its fluke can penetrate helm or cuirass.
Chacing staff: a derivative of the threshing staff, the chacing staff is not flexible, and is longer, from 10-12.' It has an iron-shod head, sometimes in several bands, and is used principally to dismount riders by brigands. It is slow and unwieldy, and best used from ambush, and while it can cause terrible crushing damage, is so long and heavy that only an extremely strong man can swing it at all, and even then it is difficult to control. Sometimes found scattered through pike formations and used as a long-range battering weapon.
Fauchard: derived from the pruning hook, a fauchard is a long, curved blade of 12-16" on the end of a 10-12' pole. The edge is on the inside of the curve, though it is only a slight curve, just enough for hooking a rider out of the saddle. While somewhat effective against mail armor, it is too light to cut through plate.
Flail: a warrior's version of the threshing flail, with two sections linked together with a very short or single link of chain. The haft portion is a 48-54" length of wood wrapped in leather or wire, while the head is a 24-30" metal rod or tube with ranks of pyramid-shaped spikes or several iron rings. Used two-handed, this weapon can smash any form of armor, but requires a lot of room to maneuver, so is not terribly useful in military formations, nor in single-combat. Mainly used in small-unit fights, it gives footmen the ability to defeat plate-armored opponents but must be used in partnership with another warrior who can protect the wielder while he whirls the dangerous flail around his head.
Glaive (also Bill): one of the simplest of pole-arms, the glaive is just a long knife-blade of 18-24" on a 10-12' pole. It can be thrust like a spear, and can deliver powerful slashes that shear right through mail armor, though plate is a fairly effective defense against a glaive blade. Some glaives have a secondary spike or hook on the reverse, and some have been shortened to 6-8' for use on horseback. A very common weapon in the borderlands and other areas where skirmishes are more common than large battles. The more recent versions of the glaive might have an extra spike aimed towards the point or back towards the butt, while some have a pair of hooks or flukes, one pointed up and the other down.
Guisarme: another derivative of the pruning hook, the falcon-shaped hooked blade of a guisarme is 12-18" long and is edged on the inside of the hook, while the shaft is 10-12.' This weapon is used to hook horsemen from their saddles, and can cut through mail with ease, though it is almost totally useless against plate armor.
Gyrson Axe (also Sparth axe): this ancient weapon is a very simple axe-head on a 54-60" haft. The axe-head is wedge-shaped and symmetrical, with a curved edge of about 10" breadth. It can deliver terrible blows and can even penetrate plate armor, but the wooden haft is vulnerable and using it requires a dangerous wind-up to be effective. Very rare on the modern battle-field, many ancient and enchanted Gyrson Axes remain prized possessions in noble or even royal households.
Halberd: this recent invention is rapidly replacing nearly every other pole-arm due to its power and versatility. A halberd has a squared axe-head on one side, a fluke opposite and a spear- or spike-head jutting up. The axe-head usually has a flat edge of about 10-12," the fluke is edged but only about 3" long and curves down, making it useful for hooking riders from their saddles, and the spear or spike varies from 1-3" wide and 12-18" long. The shaft is normally 10-12' long, with langets protecting at least 3' below the blade, though a few shorter versions of 6-8' are used in palaces, dungeons or mines. These shorter versions are fast becoming popular on the frontiers as well, replacing guard-spears. With the ability to deliver a terrible slash that can cut right through mail armor, a point that can penetrate plate-armor, and a fluke that can dismount knight or bandit with equal ease, it seems clear that the halberd will soon be the most popular infantry weapon of all.
Hewing Spear: a forerunner of all pole-arms is the Gyrson hewing spear, a 8-10' spear with a 18-24" blade, usually double-edged and as strong as a sword blade. While very effective against mail armor, this ancient weapon is almost totally helpless against plate armor, as the blade is usually a little too flexible to penetrate the heavy iron.
Jedburg Axe (also glaive-guisarme): developed in Jedburgh of Ascalon, this pole-arm is a direct ancestor of the halberd. It has a squared axe-blade similar to a halberd, but the upper end swells into a curved spear-head, and instead of a fluke there is a narrow spike on the reverse. When the Jedburg Axe was first created nobody had though of langets, so it was relatively easy to cut off the head, but it still proved extremely effective and was adopted all through Ascalon during the last century. Effective against mail but only partly against plate armor, the halberd is seen by some as a mere refinement of the Jedburg Axe. Note that a similar weapon is used in Agezaine, which supposedly developed independently, called the Glaive-guisarme. By our naming of the weapon the Jedburg Axe, it is easy to guess where we stand on this controversy.
Lochaber Axe: this development of the glaive was very popular throughout the Highland Kingdom and was named for the Lakes Region where it was developed, principally by the MacMalairts, who call it a MacMalairt Axe to this day. A lochaber axe has a long axe-blade of 12-18" with a rounded top and a hooked bottom and an actual hook at the very top facing the other direction. Either hook is used to dismount foes, and then the axe-blade is used for the kill. A little shorter than most pole-arms, it was always around 8-10' long, and while it is becoming more rare, there are many still in use in the Highlands.
Long spear (also Siuray): with the advent of heavy mailed cavalry, infantry spears grew longer, and the long spear of 12' became the weapon of the Highlander and Gallowglas schiltron, a hedgehog formation that protected archers or arbalestiers from the cavalry. With a 12" leaf-shaped spear-head, it is a deadly weapon, though mainly defensive, and useful only in large formations of others armed similarly. The long spear is one of the reasons for the creation of the claymore and other two-handed swords, for they can be used to cut many of the heads from the spears and break the front of a schiltron and more recently a pike-square. A long spear punches right through plate armor when set to receive a charge, but is useless in single combat and can't puncture plate with the strength of just a man's muscles.
Lucerne Hammer: the effectiveness of the military pick and war hammer produced a longer, deadlier version, the Lucerne Hammer, developed in Rocca Lucia of Sabarra. It has a 4" hammer-head with or without spikes, a 6" spike on the reverse, and a 10" spike as a spear-head, with langets running 3 feet down a 8-10' haft. This deadly weapon is one of the most effective against plate armor, and is often used as a dueling weapon between warriors of the middle-class who can afford armor. It was copied and renamed by the noble classes as the Bec-de-corbin, which strangely enough is Noraine for 'crow's beak' even though there was already a weapon of that name. The only drawback of a lucerne hammer is its size and speed; it is difficult to use against quick and lightly-armored enemies.
Military flail: this frightening weapon is very similar to the mace-and chain, but much longer, with a 5' haft and 3-5 36" chains ending in 2" spiked balls or diamond-shaped lugs of metal. While very scary and dangerous to unarmored foes, the weight of the balls or lugs is not enough to penetrate plate armor, and only rarely can cause much damage to a mail-armored foe. It is very good at tripping and disarming opponents, however, and can be whirled and flung 10 yards.
Military fork: a derivative of the hay-fork, a military fork has thicker tines designed to deal with armor, but they are little use against plate armor. With two 6-8" tines on a 8-10' pole, a weapon that only a generation past was considered extremely effective is losing its usefulness. Newer versions with longer tines have been tried, but they have not proved very effective. They are still used to dismount foes, however, and most have been equipped with a spike on the butt to pierce the plate armor of a fallen foe.
Partizan (or Tiath): for a while this weapon became very popular, but is now being replaced by the halberd. Developed from the ancient Brevic weapon the tiath, it was revived in the late 1400s and grew in popularity all around the world. With a long spear-blade of 18-20" and two small axe-heads jutting from either side, it was versatile and powerful, and well able to deal with mail armor. Plate armor has spelled its demise, however, for the broad-bladed spear too often shatters or skitters aside, and the axe-heads are too thin to penetrate. Still used on ceremonial occasions, most of the still existing partizans are heavily decorated.
Pike: developed by mixing the long spear and the ancient sarissa of the Etriquines, the pike is growing in popularity as well as length. Originally about 16' long, some are now using 24' pikes with tiny leaf-shaped blades at the far end. Pike-squares, the hedgehog formation that is replacing the schiltron, are very vulnerable to dire-horns and other heavy artillery, so as yet have been of little use. Most armies still use several small schiltrons rather than a large pike-square, but the long spears are slowly being replaced by pikes. Like the long spear, the pike is really only useful in formation, and can penetrate armor only if an enemy obligingly run into the point, so pikemen tend to fight only other pikemen. A pike is totally useless in single combat.
Plançon-a-Picot: a longer version of the awlspeiss, this weapon gives an infantryman better reach and cannot easily be cut by sword or halberd. It has a 36" square or hexagonal spike jutting from a disc-guard around a 6' pole, a foot of which is protected by langets. Though fairly slow and clumsy because of its weight, it can penetrate plate armor and is often seeded among longer pole-arms to fend off armored foes who break the front of the formation. Rarely used in single combat, the name means "planting a woodpecker," and was first developed in Leonés of Agezaine.
Spetum: a spear-like weapon very similar to a partizan, but with two side-blades, sharpened on the forward edge, which lean or curve toward the point of the spear-head. These side blades are usually pointed, so can be used as spikes as well as for cutting. The spear-head is usually 12-16" long and 3" wide at the base, while the side blades 5-7" long and about 1-1.5" wide where they jut from the spear-head. Set atop a 8-10' shaft, this weapon is very effective against mail armor, and can penetrate plate, though not easily. Often mixed among long spears or pikes, it was used alongside the partizan and was more popular in some nations, though it is now also giving ground to the halberd.
Voulge (also parzuth): the early pole-arm of the Noraines, the voulge is very simple and effective. It consists of a large axe-head, squared at the bottom and curving to a spike on top of about 16-18" set upon a 8-10' pole. Able to shear through mail armor with ease, it is ineffective against plate armor, and so is quickly being replaced by other weapons. Ornamental voulges can still be seen being carried by the Agezainer royal guard. The word parzuth is also used for the voulge, though it is only slightly similar to the protean pole-arm of the fledgling Kythonic military of the Great Siege. The parzuth was more spear than axe, but was in shape not unlike an elongated voulge. When first seen by the warriors of the Empire of the Jeweled Sea the voulge was despised and called a parzuth derisively, but today the words are interchangeable.
War spear (or siorm): while it is completely outdated, and despise by everyone, the war spear remains extremely common, and the current versions are very effective. War spears have been the main fighting weapon of most of the races of the world since the beginning, and consisted of a leaf-shaped or triangular blade of 8-12" atop a 6-8' shaft. A modern war spear has a leaf-shaped head of about 9" with a maximum width of 2" and a flattened diamond cross-section. It sits atop an 6-8' pole still, but the two feet below the spear-head are protected with langets, and the but has both a small counterweight and a sharp spike. A modern war-spear can pierce plate armor as easily as any of the better pole-arms, and is lighter and faster and can be wielded like a quarterstaff, using the butt as both counter and weapon. It can also be used one-handed with a shield, and can even be hurled at a foe, though the range is only about 10 yards. This versatile weapon may be scorned by many, but it remains one of the most effective and efficient weapons ever invented, which is probably why every race that came to Amelek had something similar from their diverse worlds of origin.
Infantry Weapons (Distance):
Angon (also pilum): a javelin with a 30-32" long spear-head with a flat tang set into a square or truncated pyramid socket on a 40" shaft. While it is generally used for throwing, it can also be used in close combat. An angon is sometimes called a heavy javelin, as it is a close-range weapon even when thrown--a very strong man can usually only cast it effectively about 25 yards. The long ferrule of the spear-head is thin enough to crumple, and that is it's purpose; it is thrown at a foe to foul his shield or armor. While originally it had a barbed head when thrown at foes carrying wooden shields, the current versions have a square spike for a head, which can penetrate plate armor just enough to cause discomfort rather than wounds, but more importantly the bent head and long shaft can disable or at least seriously inconvenience even a plate-armored knight. In close-quarters fighting the angon is also useful as against other spear-wielding foes, but against any other weapons it is not much use as the thin ferrule can be easily bent by even a club.
Arbalest, Double: while rarely used in large numbers, the double arbalest is very popular with those who travel in small troops, whether frontier guards or knights errant. Instead of a single bow like ordinary crossbows and arbalests, it has two, with an open slot on top and just enough space below it to slide in a second quarrel. Each quarrel can be loosed independently with two levers, and both must be spanned again to reload. Because of the difficulty in spanning the second bow, most double arbalests are of medium weight, around 100-130 pounds draw weight, so that they can be pulled back by hand or with a double gaffe or 'goat's foot' lever. A very few have heavier draw weights which require a windlass or crannequin for spanning. The most common of double arbalests has slightly less range and considerably less accuracy than a medium arbalest; it is accurate only to 50 yards, can penetrate plate armor only at about 20 yards, and has a maximum effective range of 250 yards.
Arbalest, Heavy: the most powerful non-magical missile weapon is the heavy arbalest. It is a very large, powerful crossbow with arms of spring steel and a draw weight of around 200-240 pounds. Most have either a crannequin or hand-crank atop the tiller to span the bow, or a windlass built onto the back end of the tiller. Because it is slow and difficult to span even with these helps, heavy arbalests are rarely found outside of castles or elite military units. They deliver their short quarrels with lethal power, capable of penetrating plate armor at anything less than 100 yards. They are also relatively accurate, and a good heavy arbalestier can hit a head-sized target at 75 yards or more. The extreme range of the heavy arbalest is 500 yards, where it is still capable of killing an unarmored foe, but at that range there is no accuracy at all.
Arbalest, Medium: the most common of the military crossbows, a medium arbalest has a bow with a draw weight of 130-180 pounds. It's bow is made of steel or composite layers of wood and horn, and is very difficult to span by hand, though a strong man can manage if necessary. There are two additional methods of spanning a medium arbalest, and both quicker than wrestling it by hand. The first is the simplest, the belt hook and stirrup. The front end of a medium arbalest always includes a metal stirrup, and so the belt hook is placed under the string while the arbalestier is kneeling, and as he stands up the string is pulled back to the nut. The second method is the gaffe, a wooden or metal lever with a hinge that increases leverage enough to pull back the string with one hand. Both are very commonplace, and the gaffe can also be used on horseback. While most medium arbalests are wielded by the infantry, there are hobilers and other horsemen who will carry them instead of horse bows. The range of a medium arbalest is much less than a heavy arbalest, though its accuracy is perhaps greater. While it can kill at 100 yards easily, and is accurate to that distance, it can only penetrate plate armor at fairly short range, 30 yards or less. It's extreme range is 300 yards, but hitting anything at that distance requires luck rather than skill.
Pelta: a javelin with a 26" long spear-head with a round socket on a 36" shaft. Very similar to the angon, the pelta is more aerodynamic and designed to fly much further, up to an effective range of 50 yards. The long ferrule of the spear-head is is softer, but the point is also a square spike, so that it can puncture armor and foul perhaps even an entire conrois of charging men-at-arms. Unlike a normal javelin or an angon, a pelta is almost no use in close-quarters combat as the thin ferrule cannot parry any other weapon and generally can't piece armor without crumpling. For this reason any warrior carrying several peltas will also have some other weapon. The pelta is also widely used by light cavalry.
Longbow: a 60-76" self bow with a flat front and round back, able to deliver yard-long arrows up to 300 yards, though effective combat range is generally only about 100-150 yards, and truly accurate shooting is generally only possible at 50-60 yards. Used en masse, the 'arrow storm' of a body of longbowmen can devastate charging cavalry. At close range capable of piercing plate armor with 'bodkin' arrowheads, at longer range it is the horses who suffer wounds, breaking up formations and causing confusion in the advance. Against foot troops it is even more deadly. The draw weight on a longbow varies from 80-180 pounds, but most are above 130 pounds, and it requires great strength and skill to pull, hold, and loose arrow after arrow in volleys with other longbowmen. For this reason it is not as common as crossbows and lighter bows, as being truly proficient requires literally a lifetime of practice. The best longbowmen have a bow that is perfectly matched to their strength, which may be more or less of a draw weight than another man, but because it is matched it allows them to loose more arrows quicker than a man who is overmatched by his bow. These usually belong to yeomen who have the time and the money to learn their actual strength and get a bow made to match.
Saunion: a 48-60" javelin composed entirely of a thin bar of iron with a cloth wrapped around the middle to form a grip. With a barbed head, it is very difficult to extract from shield or body. Because of it's weight its a maximum effective range is only 10 yards, and while it is of limited use in killing those wearing plate armor, it does penetrate enough to at least discompose their formations. Usually kept as the a last resort by javelin-armed troops.
War bow: a 42-54" composite or laminated bow, usually recurved for additional strength. While similar in power and lethality to the longbow, the war bow is considerably harder to make and is rarely used in large groups. Because of its smaller size, it is frequently used by scouts and skirmishers. With a pull weight of 120-150 pounds, it requires just as much skill as a longbow, and has a similar range with bodkin arrowheads, about 50-60 yards for good accuracy, effective combat range of 100-150 yards, but the maximum range is longer, up to 400 yards. While still capable of killing at 400 yards, accuracy at such a distance is almost non-existent. While slightly too long for use from horseback, particularly tall riders on big horses sometimes do carry war bows instead of horse bows for the extra punch.
Cavalry/Chivalric Weapons (short):
Bulawa: an all-steel mace with a pear-shaped or globular head, this ancient weapon has been used on nearly every battlefield in the history of Amelek. About 40" long, it is capable of denting plate armor and helmets, but it is more valued for its symbolism than its military power. As the symbol of royalty and nobility from the earliest times, it remains part of the regalia of many nations, and extremely ancient and enchanted bulawas are still carried into battle to this day. While not the most effective weapon against plate armor, it is also not useless, and it's crushing blows can stun and break bones through every other form of armor.
Horseman's axe: an all-steel axe with a back-spike and a thrusting spike, the horseman's axe is of recent date, having been designed to penetrate plate armor. The axe-head is small, only about two inches along the edge, but tapers from 2" at the haft along only a 3" distance to the edge, so that it can be used to punch holes in plate armor. The 6" spike atop the head and the 5" spike on the reverse are also thick at the base. The haft is narrow, with roundels protecting the hand at the grip, and the weapon's overall length is usually from 32-40." Used principally by knights and men-a-arms against each other, it is a very quick, very light one-handed weapon of growing popularity.
Horseman's flail: very similar to the threshing flail, the horseman's flail is much smaller, usually with a 24" wooden haft and a 12" banded or spiked metal cylinder or swingle, connected together with either one link or no more than 3" of chain. Very effective against mail armor, it is less so against plate, and has become less fashionable in recent days. Like the mace-and-chain, a horseman's flail has the tendency to get stuck in plate armor without killing the foe inside, and while this inconveniences him, it also means the wielder has lost a weapon. Devastating against lightly armored or unarmored foes, it is still common enough on most battlefields.
Horseman's hammer: like the horseman's axe, the newest version of the horseman's hammer was designed to penetrate plate armor. With a 3-4", spiked hammer-head on one side, a 5-6" spike on the reverse, and a thrusting spike of 4-6" jutting from the top, it is a very effective weapon, and even quicker than a horseman's axe. Usually made of wood with langets on the sides, the grip is protected by metal roundels and there is often a short spike below them as well. This weapon varies from 28-36" in length, and has become very fashionable of late, particularly in Agezaine.
Horseman's pick: the simplest of the new weapons for penetrating armor, a horseman's pick is nothing more than a steel rod with a spike jutting out at a right angle from the top. The spike or pick is usually 5-7" long, and the metal haft is 28-36" with roundels above and below the leather-wrapped grip. This one-handed weapon is quick and light, and punches holes through plate with ease, and more elaborate versions have begun to be made. Most popular is a head carved to look like a hand holding a dagger, where the thick spike takes the place of the dagger. These are heavier and a little slower, but none the less popular for all that.
Mace: the mace originally was just a cylindrical version of the bulawa, and over time developed a central bulge that made it more effective against mail armor. More recent versions have become flanged, with six or eight spiked flanges radiating from a 28-32" metal haft, but while a flanged mace is ever so deadly against mail armor, it has very little effect on plate armor, except to dent it and possibly break bones beneath. Maces have become less popular of late because of this reason, but are still carried by many royal or noble officials as a symbol of rank. Not so prestigious as the smooth round bulawa, it is still symbolically important and is deadly against unarmored foes.
Sabar: very similar to the horseman's pick, this weapon is much more ancient, having been borne by Thellic kings for thousands of years. It consists of a wooden haft 30-36" in length, with a small round mace-like socket at the top and a single down-curving blade jutting from one side. This 7-10" blade is really two blades with four edges, and at the point they are combined into one. Few other weapons are capable of dealing with plate armor with no changes, but the sabar is one, and while it is only popular among the Ithels and others of Thellic descent, it remains respected by every other people.
Tabar (or Tharb): while the word is just the ancient Kythonic word for axe, the style of the tabar has remained the same since the Great Siege. A tabar has a 32-36" hollow tube for a haft, anciently made of bronze but presently of steel, and a thin-bladed stabbing knife is hidden within. The axe-head has only a 4-5" slightly curved blade edge, and is wedge-shaped with a flat, square peen. While not so effective against plate armor as the sabar, it still can punch through if wielded with enough strength, and current versions have only a 2.5-3" edge to make them more effective. This ancient symbol of the Kythonic military officer has lost much of its luster in the present, but is still common enough especially amongst the Hidalgos of the Empire of the Jeweled Sea, who are descended from those very officers.
Cavalry/Chivalric Weapons (long):
Bec-de-corbin: developed from the lucerne hammer, the bec-de-corbin has a shorter, heavier spike at the top of about 4-5", a straighter back-spike of 4-5", and a smaller, four-pronged hammer-head of 2-3," all atop a 6-8' pole. Even though it is used by knights and men-at-arms, it is a weapon they only use on foot, and usually only in single combat. It's ability to puncture plate armor makes it more useful than most swords when fighting in armor, while it has long enough spikes to be instantly fatal.
Boar spear: this specialized hunting spear is generally only used by the nobility, as nobody else is allowed to hunt the boar. A simple spear with a cross-piece designed to keep the boar from running up the shaft, boar-spears tend to be 6-8' long and have a triangular head. Some have a point at the butt.
Contus: this little known weapon is the two-handed lance, used by the Chavhyrs of the west and sometimes copied by the warriors of Anjalakh. Very simple in design, it has a 6" leaf-shaped head, a 10-12' shaft which narrows towards the point, with a small counterweight at the butt. Used two-handed without a shield, can penetrate any armor when used from the back of a charging horse, and having two hands gives it more versatility when fighting foot-soldiers. It is slightly less efficient than a couched lance, and more likely to be lost in combat.
Demi-lance: a short spear for use by squires and pages, called so by courtesy. A demi-lance has a 4" leaf-shaped blade atop a 6' shaft, and cannot be used couched like a real lance. Often used by knights or men-at-arms when they fight on foot.
Lance (heavy): a long, tapering weapon with a guard or vamplate over the grip and a very small 3-4" pointed or leaf-shaped blade at the end. Usually 12-14' long with a counterweight at the butt, a lance is tucked up under the arm and extends out across the horse onto the rider's left side, making man, armor and horse a single weapon with all that power concentrated on tiny point 6 feet in front of the horse's nose. The rider must lean forward just before the moment of impact, and if accurate, a lance can pierce any armor. This powerful weapon is mostly used against other horsemen, as few foot-soldiers can stand in the face of its charge, and those who do stand together in schiltrons or pike squares that horses will not approach. A knight that finds a gap in the hedge of spears can and will use his lance against infantry to devastating effect. The greatest weakness of the heavy lance is its tendency to break. It is very frequently only good for a single use. Though it is sometimes used in war, it has become less frequent, though it is always used in tournaments.
Lance (light): this weapon is really just a spear designed to be used on horseback. It has a 6' leaf-shaped blade at the end of a 10-12' shaft, with a counterweight at the butt. It can be couched like a heavy lance, but can also be reversed to thrust downward from a rearing horse, or used two-handed if the cavalry must dismount. Used more often in war than the heavy lance, many are now calling it a war lance, and the heavy lance is being called a courtesy lance. It remains to be seen whether these new terms will catch on. The light lance also tends to get broken or more often lost, but not nearly so often as a heavy lance.
Langue de Beve (also Ox-tongue): this Noraine weapon is a pole-arm designed to be used from horseback. It has a 18" blade atop a 8-10' shaft, and a small counterweight on the butt keeps it balanced. The blade is oddly shaped, square or rounded at the base and then running parallel about 3 inches broad for 12" or so, then tapering abruptly into a 6" spike. The spine of the blade runs straight into the socket, so that it is both a cutting weapon and a piercing. The spike can pierce armor with a short charge on horseback, and the edges can cut mail or other armor. Used one-handed with a shield, it can be couched for short charges, and can be reversed for a downward thrust from a rearing horse. Used by the squires and custrels of knights, it is used after the opposing lines have merged and all the lances are broken.
Poll-axe (also Pole-axe): this is the knightly version of the halberd, used when knights are afoot in battle, or for single combat in duels. The poll-axe has an axe-head on one side, usually flaring from a 2" base to 8-10" of edge and often pierced with ornamental holes to reduce weight. The edge may be round or flat, and currently tends to be flat. On the reverse is a hammer-head that flares from 2" to 3-4," and is sometimes flat but more often with small pyramid-shaped spikes. Atop the poll-axe is a long spike or spear-head, 6-12" in length. This weapon is set upon a 6-8' haft which is protected for a third of its length by langets. Capable of cutting, crushing and piercing plate-armor, it is possibly the most dangerous of all knightly weapons, though it is practically useless on horseback.
Runka (also Ranseur): while it appears similar to a partizan or spetum, the runka has a different development and history. The Gyrsons had a form of spear they called a 'winged spear' with two lugs below the blade to prevent a berserk warrior from running along the shaft to kill the wielder. Sir Gallant, the first of the Knights Errant, found this weapon particularly useful in fighting bandits and monsters, and refined it to the present shape. A runka is an ordinary war-spear, a narrow triangular head of 12" set atop an 8-10' shaft, but with two triangular blades of 4-5" jutting from the socket below the spear-head. This prevents an enemy who has been pierced by the weapon from running up the shaft, and the side blades or flukes can also be used to cut or puncture. A runka can be couched for short charges, be reversed for downward attacks from a charging or rearing horse, and can be used two-handed while on foot. It's versatility has kept it in continual use for 400 years, and even today it can pierce plate armor with its narrow blade.
Cavalry/Chivalric Distance Weapons:
Arbalest (light): this all-steel weapon is designed to be used with one hand, though it is long enough to be used with both if necessary. The steel tiller is more curved than other arbalests, and the trigger is small, and the draw weight is only 50-75 pounds, making it relatively easy to span by hand. Considered a weapon of last resort, it is carried by those who expect to encounter magicians and need some means of breaking their concentration while the distance is closed. Incapable of penetrating armor even at close range, it is very capable against silk robes, and its needle-pointed steel quarrels can easily penetrate chain mail armor. The effective combat range of a light arbalest is 50 yards, and it is accurate to that distance, though if used one handed accuracy suffers at anything over 25 yards. Extreme range is 100 yards, and its accuracy at that distance is very poor.
Horse bow (or kaman): there are several different kinds of horse bow, angled, double-curved, recurved, double-recurved, and several more. Nearly all are made of laminated layers of wood and horn glued together to make them very powerful for their size. Most are 32-40" in length, making them easy to shoot from horseback, and have a draw weight of 100-120 pounds. Accurate to 50-60 yards if shot while on foot, it is considerably less while on horseback, unless the horse is standing still. Though a good horse-archer can hit targets even while galloping, anything above 25 yards is chancy, even from the back of an ambling horse. The effective combat range of a horse-bow is 100 yards, and while it can kill at distances of 250-300 yards, it is nearly impossible to hit anything at such a distance. The horse bow has been a mainstay of the Kythonic and Thellic traditions for many centuries, but of late it has become less popular because of its inability to penetrate plate armor at anything beyond 25 yards. Though still very common among the Sisterhoods, it is no longer used by other militaries outside of the Rythe.
Jarid: very similar to the angon, the jarid has a leaf-shaped head of about 2" and a ferrule of 20-22" set with a socket onto a 36-40" shaft. Designed for use by light cavalry, it is still carried by knights and men-at-arms who might otherwise have no distance weapon at all. With the advent of plate armor, some now are equipped with a square spike instead of the traditional leaf-shape (jarid means 'palm leaf'). Even so, it is rare for a small javelin to penetrate plate armor, and most of the time they are used against infantry or horses, especially by hobilers or reivers. When thrown from horseback the effective range of a jarid is only about 20 yards, 10 yards if accuracy is desired, though if the horse is galloping and the jarid is thrown forward, that distance may triple--but the accurate range only doubles, and then only with a skilled wielder.
Baselard: a short sword with a tapering blade of about 20-28" with an 'I' shaped hilt. In some both guard and pommel are straight, in others they curve towards each other. Often carried by civilians as well as soldiers, and considered (by law) to be a dagger rather than a sword. The blade is usually about 2" broad at the base of the forte and tapers slightly until the last few inches of the foible into a point. A matching dagger with a 10-14" blade is often carried in company with a baselard.
Bastard sword: a two-edged straight sword with a blade of 36-42" and an 8-10" cross-guard, often with additional side rings and/or arms of the hilt. The grip is the most distinguishing feature, being 7-9" long, not quite long enough for comfortable use with two hands. There is usually a ring around the grip to distinguish where the first and second hand should be placed. Balanced to be used one- or two-handed, this weapon was first developed in the Farath as a replacement for the knightly Arming Sword, but quickly became popular among Farathi mercenary companies while few knights would carry one. Sometimes called a Hand-and-a-half sword, and more derisively a Farathi longsword.
Baudelaire (also Shier, Sehinshir): a short saber with a slightly curved, clip-pointed, single-edged blade of about 24-28" and a decorated hilt, especially the pommel. The quillions are flat and curve opposite each other, the upper curving towards the blade and the lower towards the pommel. Often carried by archers, arbalestiers and sailors. This is the closest modern equivalent to the standard shier of the Kythonic legionaries of the Great Siege, though the hilt is slightly different. Brevics never use the Noraine term but always say shier.
Broadsword (also Bathir, Cut-and-thrust sword, Schiavona): a straight, double-edged sword with a blade 34-40" in length with the recently invented basket hilt. While the ancient bathir of the Brevics was similar with its 3-bar stirrup hilt, the full basket was first seen in the Rythe. Though it is still not very popular, it has recently been adopted as a secondary weapon by many of the Farathi mercenary commanders. The blade is of flat hexagonal cross-section, and strong enough to pierce plate armor if the wielder is lucky, but it has mostly been used in place of an arming sword by heavy cavalry of non-knightly descent.
Cinqueada: a short sword or large dagger with a two-edged, extremely broad and tapering blade of 18-28" with at least two and sometimes five fullers. The quillions curve towards the point, and the grip is unusually thin, with a knob in the middle. The blade may be 5 or even 6" across at the base of the forte, and tapers dramatically to the point. Cinqueada refers to the 'five fingers' wide base of the blade. Often carried by mercenaries and civilians, it's breadth and thickness allows it to be used both as a parrying weapon in the off hand, or as a 'dagger' in places where swords aren't allowed.
Claymore: the big Gallowglas two-handed sword, developed in the Highland Kingdom to both defend and break into the schiltron formation of spears. The claymore has a 48-60" blade, double-edged with parallel edges for most of its length, and the point tends to be slightly rounded rather than acute. At least ten inches of the blade are blunt at the base of the forte just below the hilt, which portion is called the ricasso by the Seibarinos and the fore-grip by the Gallowglas. The hilt of a claymore angles toward the blade, and often has clover-leaf decorations at the end of each quillion. The grip itself is at least 10" long, sometimes 12," giving the sword a minimum length of 58" and a maximum of 72." The fore-grip is often wrapped in leather to make it easier to hold it below the hilt. While very large, the claymore rarely weighs more than 6-7 pounds, and is used only in the schiltron or in duels.
Cutlass: a curved sword with a single-edged blade of 28-36", often 2-2.5" broad for most of its length. Used for slashing and chopping, it has lately become very popular on board ship. While most have a simpler version of a baudelaire hilt, many are now equipped with a basket hilt, strong enough to protect the hand and to bludgeon a foe. Relatively heavy for its length, it is very uncommon outside of seaports or aboard ship.
Dagesse (also Achan, Peynshir): a short sword or large dagger carried as a sidearm by many soldiers, with a double-edged, tapering blade of 18-28." Similar to the cinqueada, it is simpler, with a straight cross-guard, an ordinary grip and pommel, and a single fuller. It is also narrower, only about 3-3.5" broad at the base of the forte, and tapering more gently to a point. Carried by mercenaries and civilians, it fills the same niche as the cinqueada but is a good deal cheaper.
Doppelhander (or Doppalhande-saebel, Spadone): a big sword fashioned in imitation of the claymore by Albaring and Seibarino mercenaries. With a straight, double-edged blade of 54-66" and a grip of 12" this is the biggest swords used by humans, and it is used only in pike squares. Despite its size, the heaviest type of this weapon weighs only 8-9 pounds, and is superb at its particular purpose, which is cutting off pike-heads and breaking into enemy pike formations. Most doppelhanders have a blunt ricasso below the hilt, often up to 16" long, with a pair of flanges or spikes above that point to protect the hand when it is 'shortened.' The quillions are very wide, sometimes 16-18" across, and often have side-rings and arms of the hilt. While useful in their particular niche, a dopplehander is of little use outside of it. While its powerful cuts can sometimes shear through armor, outside of a pike square nobody holds still long enough for the slow-moving sword, and so it is not even used for duels.
Falchion (also Falco, Halcone): a short sword with a flaring blade of about 24-32" which is flat and blunt on one side and curved on the edge. Only about 1.5" broad at the base of the forte, it widens to about 3" before curving back into a point. The hilt is usually cruciform with a square or round pommel, but some have a baudelaire-style hilt instead. While most commonly used as a sidearm by archers, arbalestiers, halberdiers and spearmen, it is sometimes found among the men-at-arms and, more rarely, even knights have been known to prefer it to an arming sword.
Flambard (or Fiammabuordias, Flammenklyng): a flamboyant version of the doppelhander, the flambard is the same size and shares the same purpose. It is always on the larger side, with a blade of 60-66" and a 12" grip. Its hilt is more decorative, often with little whorls or barbs coming off of the quillions or side-rings, and both the grip and the blunt ricasso are usually wrapped in scarlet leather. Below the flanges the sword has wavy or even scalloped edges, and while this provides no particular advantage it also doesn't cause any harm. Carried by the most flamboyant mercenaries of Albar and Sabarra, it is useless outside of a pike square but much admired for its deadly beauty.
Gladius (also Tagax, Kinshir): a short stabbing sword with a 2" broad, double-edged blade of 18-26." The edges run parallel for the entirety of the forte, then taper throughout the foible to the point. The hilt comes in many varieties, the earliest being simple square cross-guards about 3" across and a spherical pommel, while the more common version today has a straight cruciform guard of 6" across and a 'scent stopper' pommel. Intended to be used in a formation of shields, it is today carried as a sidearm by many kinds of troops, and is the most common form of sword among civilians. Early versions had one or two fullers, but the current gladius has a flattened diamond section so that it can pierce plate armor. Usually it will only pierce the joints of plate armor, but the weapon-smiths are definitely trying. Very frequently carried as a sidearm by Seibarino pikemen.
Katzbalger: a medium-sized sword with a distinctive 'S' shaped guard, popular among Albaring mercenaries as a side arm. A katzbalger or 'cat gutter' has a 30-36" double-edged blade with parallel edges for most of its length, the last six inches of the foible tapering sharply. Most have a spherical pommel, but some have odd-shaped pommels, such as a dodecahedron. Usually carried as a secondary weapon by Albaring pikemen.
Xiphos (also Aor, Dvatag, Shir): one of the most ancient sword forms in Amelek, the xiphos has a straight, leaf-shaped, double-edged blade of 26-28" with a rib running up the center. It's hilt has a 3" square guard and a cylindrical pommel with a grip that flares slightly in the middle. The preferred sword of the Kavons of long ago, it remains an important symbol or royalty and nobility among the few remaining Kavonic states, even though it is hopelessly outclassed by modern weapons. Most remaining xiphoi are very ornate and belong to those claiming descent from ancient Kavonic royalty or nobility, and new ones are only forged for those who hope to gain ancestral prestige. Even the latest additions can't penetrate plate armor without the help of magic.
Arming sword (also Airos, Eir, Espasa de Zinture, Claidhea, Claybec, Kalabian, Saebel, Spata, Swerd, Syf): a light sword carried at the belt by knights and men-at-arms, usually with a 32-36" double-edged straight blade, a cruciform hilt 6-7" across and a round, heptagonal or 'scent stopper' pommel. Arming swords from the last century all have a fuller for speed and strength, but plate armor has made them obsolete. A present day arming sword has a flattened diamond or flat hexagonal cross section, and is stiff enough to penetrate plate if one is very lucky. The arming sword is rarely able to pierce plate, however, and is much more apt at getting through the joints of an armor. As recently as 25 years ago an arming sword would have a slightly tapering blade with a small point, but currently it will have the same tapering blade, but the tapering is more acute and the point is almost a spike. While intended to be used with a shield, shields are no longer much used once the lances are finished, and no use at all to an armored man on foot, and so newer forms are coming into being, though for the present it remains the most common of secondary weapons for any knight or man-at-arms.
Banshier (also Gewerkilkshir): developed by the Companions of the Black Prince on the long retreat to Chaldham, this curved sword is still kept mainly as a reminder of those times, and is rarely used in war. With a 44-50" slightly curved blade and a 10" grip, the banshier is light and quick, and can be used with one or both hands. With a disk guard and a flaring pommel, it's simple design was a sign of that time, when they had little leisure for niceties. Even so the disk of a banshier is nearly always a heptagon, in memory of the 'Seven Lights' who led the Brevics out of the Citadel. The 1.25" wide blade is triangular in section and sharpened on the convex of the curve, and has tremendous cutting power, but against plate armor the banshier is ineffective. Most of them are kept as treasured heirlooms in many a noble house of the Empire of the Jeweled Sea, and new banshiers are made from time to time for new family branches, but they have not been commonly used in war for over 200 years.
Coustille (also Coup-sword): a short, broad-bladed sword carried by non-noble men-at-arms or custrels, which name comes from the Noraine coustillier. The word coustille is actually not Noraine in origin, but comes from Odonne: 'coup steel,' or a weapon used for giving the coup-de-grace. A coustille has a straight, double-edged blade of 26-32" and which tapers from 3" at the guard to a very sharp point. It has a large fuller, but it tapers to a flattened diamond at the point, so that it can be used to penetrate armor, or more especially the joints of armor. A coustille has a straight cross-guard of about 7-8" and sometimes has one or more side rings, and its grip is just long enough to use two-handed, though it is a 'bastard' or hand-and-a-half hilt. It is carried instead of an arming sword by custrels, and it is two-handed so that it can be used reversed to kill an enemy too badly wounded for healing. In actual combat it is not really able to penetrate plate, but is still effective in the joints. The coustille is also sometimes carried by civilians, and their popularity is growing especially in Agezaine, where coustillier has become nearly synonymous with brigand.
Greatsword (also Bantag, Espasa de Guerre, Gewershir, Sword of War, War-sword): a large sword with a straight, double-edged, tapering blade of 42-56" in length, with 10-12" cruciform quillions and a 10" grip. Balanced for two-handed use, the greatsword is now the premier weapon of a knight or man-at-arms. The entire forte has only a very slight edge, allowing the sword to be strongly gripped for close thrusts (i.e. 'half-swording'), and while it cannot pierce the strongest parts of plate armor, it can certainly penetrate the joints and is easier to aim when 'half-swording.' Weighing 4-5 pounds, a greatsword can be wielded one-handed by very strong warriors, but it is not balanced well for such use. Knights and men-at-arms learn to wield this sword both on horseback and afoot, and it is considered by most to be the most deadly and versatile of all swords. Its size prevents it being carried at the waist, and it generally hangs in a sheath before the saddle of the war-horse.
Karabela (also Kilij, Samiscer, Scimitar, Seyrshir, Shashka): a curved sword with a blade edged on the convex side and part of the concave, 32-40" in length. The blade is about 1-1.5" broad along most of its length, curving into a point in the last 4-6" of the foible. The hilt varies much more widely than the blade, and the guard may be of cruciform, disk, or flat-'S' shape, while the pommel may be of round, square, pointed, or 'scent stopper' design. Many also have a baudelaire-type hilt. This sword is very effective against lightly armored enemies, but mail offers excellent protection against it, and plate armor verges on proof against its edge. Still used in areas too hot for plate armor, it retains a place of some prestige in the Empire of the Jeweled Sea, as every Companion of the Black Prince carried a Brevic samiscer.
Longsword (also Espasa de'Fenza, Tag, Udshir): a large sword in shape almost exactly like a greatsword, except slightly smaller. A longsword too has a straight, double-edged tapering blade with a sharp point, but it is only 38-46" in length. The guard is wide and cruciform and most have a tapering 'scent stopper' pommel. Like the greatsword the forte of a longsword is not sharpened to allow 'half-swording' by gripping the blade. While the longsword can sometimes penetrate plate, it is not as effective as a greatsword and so is used primarily by those who cannot afford a greatsword. Fifty years ago the longsword held the premier place, and it is still much used in war, especially in border territories and anywhere plate armor is less common. Outside of actual war a longsword is more versatile than a Greatsword, as it can be carried from the waist, is faster and lighter, and nearly as effective in every area. Knights Errant almost always carry a longsword.
Palasch (also Kilkshir, Saber, Siuroth, Talwar): a longer version of the karabela, the palasch has a curved blade 1-1.5" wide and 36-44" long. The edge is on the convex of the curve, which is slightly less pronounced than on the karabela. The main difference besides length is the hilt, as the palasch has a stirrup-hilt to protect the knuckles. Almost completely helpless in the face of plate armor, the palasch is still common in areas where the heat makes only light armor practical.
Saddle sword: this large sword is a recent invention, designed specifically to replace the Greatsword. It has not done so as yet, but it is slowly catching on. The saddle sword has a 48-50" blade, the lower third of which is not only not sharpened, but is square or hexagonal in section. The blade flares from that point to a flattened diamond or flat hexagonal cross-section about 2" broad. It then describes a slightly curved arc on both edges to a very stiff point. Able to pierce plate armor as well as a tucke, it also can be used for slashing, and while it is slightly too heavy for one-handed use in cutting, it can be gripped ahead of the hilt and used to thrust like a light lance. The hilt of a saddle sword is usually a very simple cruciform guard with a 10-12" grip and a 'scent stopper' pommel. This new sword shows great promise, as it can be wielded almost exactly like a greatsword with a couple of additional uses.
Sayf (also Halaadin Broadsword): this curved sword has a 2.5" broad, 36-42" blade with the edge on the convex side. Triangular in section, there is a rib that extends about 1/3 of the length of the blade on the concave side near the hilt, allowing for more powerful slashes with the hand on the back of the blade. This weapon is surprisingly effective against mail armor, and as it is mostly used in hotter countries where plate armor is rare, it remains an excellent weapon. Against plate armor, however, it is nearly powerless, as its point isn't sharp enough nor situated properly for thrusts. The hilt of a sayf has a very heavy down-curved pommel, with a small guard of 4" quillions. A chain connects the lower quillion with the pommel.
Tucke (also Estoc, Kargh): this piercing sword is almost like a lance. It's 48-54" blade has a triangular or hexagonal cross-section, and has no real edge, being designed to puncture every sort of armor. It was only a curiosity a few years ago, a relic of the ride of the Brevics from the Accursed Citadel to the Sea, but with the growing popularity of plate armor it has come back into vogue. The hilt is long, up to 18" with a spherical pommel and a heptagonal disk as the guard. Used as a short lance by the Companions of the Black Prince, today it has proven very effective against plate armor, and the ancient blades have been joined by many recent copies. As the blade has no edge, it can be gripped at any point, and makes for a very versatile if large and unwieldy weapon.
Yataghan (also Khachir): a double-curved sword of ancient design, still used by scouts and frontiersmen for its excellent cutting power. The blade of a yataghan is from 26-30" long and 1.25-1.5" broad, and first curves down from the simple flaring pommel hilt. About halfway the blade curves back up and makes a wicked point. The blade is edged on the lower portion of the blade, and 6-8" along the top near the point. This blade form allows for astonishing cutting power, and it is also very well balanced for thrusting. While too small and too thin for use against plate armor, it does very well against mail and even better against the thick hides of marauding beasts and monsters.
New Civilian Swords:
Brette (also Estocco, Estoque): a slim sword with a 0.75" broad, 40-50" long blade of flattened diamond section. The hilt is usually ornate, wide, and complex, with side-rings, arms of the hilt, and a knuckle guard. While capable of inflicting scratches and small cuts with its edge, the brette is primarily a thrusting sword, with a blunt ricasso as much as 12" below the guard to allow for parries. Carried by gentlemen and burgesses for self-defense, it is intended to be used solely against unarmored opponents, and though it can sometimes pierce poorly made mail, it scarcely scratches plate armor, and has great difficulty with brigandine and even boiled leather armors.
Colichemarde: a straight, edgeless sword, with a thick forte and thin, sharply tapering foible, from 32-36" in length including the hilt. Used for thrusting only, and the reinforced forte allows larger swords to be parried. The guard is usually straight with arms of the hilt and side rings, or a more ornate double shell-guard with a stirrup guard. Developed as an Albaring response to the the Seibarino Spata Cortesi, it is today carried by all Albaring courtiers, and has begun to filter into other nations. The colichemarde is completely helpless against any sort of armor as the foible is easily broken. While sometimes worn by soldiers, it is never carried by anyone to war.
Court Sword (also Smallsword, Spata cortesi): a light, short sword with a straight, edgeless blade tapering sharply from hilt to point, about 30-33" in length. Like the brette it is used only against unarmored opponents, and is considered a dagger in many courts. The 1.5" broad forte can parry heavier swords if wielded with skill, but the foible is more feeble than almost any other sword; some have been broken by a sharp blow from an unarmored fist. Helpless against armor of any kind, it is never pitted against it, being the sword of courtesy worn by courtiers.
Dueling sword (also Espata duello): a straight, double-edged sword with a simple cross-guard and small arms of the hilt, with a 1" blade about 40-44" in length. It is used in formal duels between gentlemen or burgesses, and considered by Seibarinos to be the only proper sword for such occasions. While still uncommon, other courts have begun to use the same type of sword for the same reason, for while a dueling sword is just as lethal as other swords, it is used for thrusting and so is less gory, allowing ladies to watch duels in greater comfort. Unlike the colichemarde and court sword, the dueling sword is never worn, but only carried to a duel, used there, and then returned to its place at home. The winner of a duel always receives the loser's dueling sword by Seibarino tradition, though this is ignored everywhere else.
Dvasam: a development of the yataghan, this two-handed version was always more of a ceremonial weapon rather than designed for battle. With a 40-44" double-curved blade and a 10-12" grip, it was very difficult to learn, and the point was never easy to aim. While capable of extremely powerful blows, and able to shear through even mail armor, it cannot cut through plate armor, and has devolved into a weapon given as a symbol of nobility to any scout or frontiersman that distinguishes himself enough for knighthood, but cannot legally receive knighthood. Every dvasam today will be extremely decorative while remaining functional, and several old families have them hanging over their mantles as reminders of their heroic ancestors.
Falx: a weapon used by the Etriquínes when they first invaded Amelek, the falx is a short curved sword with the edge on the concave of the curve. The blade is typically 20-30" long, with a very simple hilt with a roundel for a guard and a saucer-shaped pommel. Carried by the Etriquín buckler-man or marine, it was used both for battle and to cut ropes, sails or oars that were fouling a ship and preventing its movement. Simple and deadly, it was very effective against lightly armored sailors, but as ships improved it fell out of use, though some Etriquín naval captains still carry decorative versions to this day. As armor is now worn even aboard ship, the falx is no longer much use in combat, as it cannot easily penetrate mail armor and can only scratch plate.
Khepesh (also Khofsh, Xafsh): this strange weapon came to Amelek with the Yerra, and their pacific nature is the only reason it never was developed or improved upon over the centuries. A cross between a sword and a sickle, the khepesh has a straight blade for the first 8-10" which then forms a half-circle or half-elipse, ending in hooked point. The overall length of the blade is 24-30" and the grip was usually very simple, with no guard and flaring to a saucer-shaped pommel. The edge runs along the bottom of the blade around the outside of the circle, though some were double-edged. The effectiveness of this weapon was never really tested until the coming of the Etriquínes, where it proved itself to be a very poor weapon. Many of them still exist, kept as heirlooms by the Yerra to remind them that peaceful peoples can die at the point of the sword just as easily as warlike peoples.
Kopis (also Banprahn, Chypes, Falcata, Xingshir): this unusual sword was very popular with the ancient Kavons, and a very similar weapon was used by the Etriquínes when they conquered half the world. The blade curves downward from the hilt, but then broadens and curves back to form a point, and is sharpened on the lower edge of the entire length. The blade was usually 24-28" in length, and the most common form of hilt was similar to a stirrup guard, but with a horse-head for the pommel. The blade shape of a kopis allows for extremely powerful cuts with relatively little muscle, but it is almost impossible to aim a thrust with the point. The iron versions of the Kavons were easily able to cut through the bronze armor of the Thells and the scale armor of the Kythons, but was less effective against chain mail and plate armor. While a smaller dagger version called the 'prayer knife' is still common in many parts of the world, this sword has not been used since the Battle of 10,000 Ships when the militaries of the entire world were only slowly reformed after the devastation of the Wars of the Skull.
Each social class in Amelek has a weapon or weapons that are particularly associated with them. This is surprisingly common to many different cultures, and may reflect more on the availability of materials than anything else. Each class of course uses many other weapons depending on their wealth and inclinations, but these weapons are generally considered beneath those of any higher classes or above those of any lower classes. In many cases when a person is moving up in class, one of the first things done is to buy the weapon of the next rank to demonstrate his upward movement.
Banshier: this is the special weapon of the noble classes in the Empire of the Jeweled Sea, and is described in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords above. While the banshier is rarely used in war, it remains a symbol of the Hidalgo class, and anyone of Hidalgo rank or better will have one to symbolize the connection with the ancient Brevics Companions who escaped from the Great Citadel. Each nation similarly uses antique versions of swords or other weapons in the noble class, the banshier is given as an example. Additional Examples:
Albwyne: Claidhea; see Arming Sword in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Ayronners: Kalabian; see Arming Sword in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Banelow: War Spear; see Infantry Weapons (long)
Dal Chai: Karabela; see Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Etriquínes: Falcata; see Kopis in Obsolete Swords
Gyrsons: Gyrson axe; see Infantry Weapons (long)
Halaadin: Sayf; see Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Ithels: Shir; see Xiphos in Infantry Swords
Justenes: Gladius; see Infantry Swords
Kavons: Xiphos; see Infantry Swords
Noraines: Espasa de Zinture; See Arming Sword in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Seibarino: Halcone; see Falchion in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Valenzions: Airos; see Arming Sword in Cavalry/Chivalric Swords
Yerra: Khepesh; see Obsolete Swords
Brandistock: the special weapon of the middle part of the middle class, namely the citizen, franklin, or granger, the brandistock is a hidden weapon, allowing them to remain armed in places where weapons are not allowed. A brandistock is a staff made from a hollow tube of 48-54" in length, usually made of two wooden pieces glued together and then wrapped in leather, linen or silk, with a narrow, sliding spear-blade that can be shaken out of one end. Many are enchanted so that the spear blade extends on its own. This 24" spear blade is sometimes accompanied by two smaller blades that jut out at 45° angles. Both ends of the staff are clad in metal, and a cap usually has to be removed for the spear to extend. The lower end of the staff frequently ends in a point but some are rounded or even squared on the bottom. The brandistock can be wielded like a long baton or a short quarterstaff, but once the spear is visible it is a short, quick pole-arm that can be used in relatively tight quarters. As the middle class includes many merchants, it is always best not to assume that any merchant is unarmed only because he carries what looks like an ornamental walking stick.
Man-catcher: this oddity is the weapon of the middle part of the lower classes, namely the commoner of the towns, the crofter and villein of the feudal estate, and the socman or deputy who watches over them. There are two versions, the simpler of which is a leather thong or rope looped into a noose and connected to a 48-60" staff through several small metal loops. It can be used to subdue a foe by hooking him around the neck and then pulling the noose tight, which allows one to keep away from the foe while strangling him. More often used for capturing rather than killing, it can do either. The more complicated version of the man-catcher is usually owned by the socman, and consists of a metal loop and mechanical closing mechanism attached to a similar staff. It closes less tightly, and has langets to keep it from being cut in two, and rarely can kill, as the loop is designed to subdue and control rather than strangle. While it cannot kill a man in armor, it can keep him at a distance long enough for an ally to get a dagger into his liver.
Matched Longbow: the weapon of the lower middle class or yeomanry is the matched longbow. This is not the same in every nation; some use a war bow instead, but it is always a bow that matches the strength of the shooter. See Longbow in Infantry Weapons (distance) above.
Poll-axe: the weapon of the middle upper class, also known as the armigerous or equestrian class. The poll-axe is described above in Cavalry/Chivalric Weapons (Long).
Sap or Sap-staff: this simple weapon belongs to the lowest class, the beggars, cottars and serfs, and at its simplest is nothing more than a small bag of sand. The most common version has a leather thong attached to give it a little more reach, and is used from ambush for stunning and knocking out a foe. It is little use in a straight fight, but the small frames of the hungry lower classes make them unlikely to win any open fight. The best version of this weapon is the sap-staff, which is a small burlap or leather sack filled with sand, small stones, or lead sling-bullets tied to the end of a 24-48" haft. This gives it a great deal more power, and on rare occasions has killed a foe with a single blow. This is rare, and it usually requires many blows to kill anyone. It is completely useless against armor of every sort, but nobody wears armor all the time.
Spiked targe: the special weapon of the highest part of the lower class is more defensive than anything else. A targe is a round shield about 20" in diameter made of wood with one or more layers of boiled leather riveted to the wood. It is gripped by a simple handle in the back, and can be used in place of a buckler. A freeman may have such a weapon before he becomes free, but always adds a 6-8" spike at the center of the shield once he is acknowledged a freeman. Used with any other one-handed weapon a spiked targe can be very formidable, and while it is considered a bit underhanded by the middle & upper classes, it is also acknowledged as the right of every freeman. Many a yeoman also carries a spiked targe along with his longbow, and it is not infrequently seen in battle matched with sword or axe.
Sword-shield (also Adarga, Lantern shield, Pata): the weapon of the upper middle class of luminaries and squires is an odd combination of shield and sword, and unlike the spiked targe is not considered underhanded, as it is very obvious what it is. There are national versions that seem quite different from each other, but they all share similar characteristics. The most common version is a long, narrow shield, about 32-40" tall and 12-18" wide with two bosses each with a grip, and 10-14" blades jutting from the central spine of the shield at both ends. This weapon is used in disputes and duels, much like the poll-axe of the knightly class, and is rarely seen in a declared war, but many squires or luminaries carry them on journeys and may use such a weapon against bandits or robber-knights at need. The second version is the adarga, common to the western nations of Anjalakh and Chai'ia. This has a very small shield, 10-12" in diameter, with a curved sword blade or sometimes a spear-like blade jutting up above the grip, while a shorter spike extends below the grip. It is really a one-handed version of the the sword-shield described above. The third main type is the lantern shield or bramatar, so named because it has a hook for a lantern. This weapon is a small round shield about 16" in diameter, with a 10" projection to protect the elbow, and two curved 10" blades jutting out from the shield close to the grip, and a third 18-24" straight blade extending directly in front of the grip. Better than many shields at parrying attacks, it is also capable of breaking swords, and of course it is a weapon as well. The last version is the pata or tagaxatar, which is much simpler, being a long, narrow shield for the forearm, and a straight 24-40" sword-blade extending out from the grip. It is rarely used as a primary weapon as it is more difficult to use than an ordinary sword, but it makes the off-hand much more effective than an ordinary buckler or shield, though it is considerably more difficult to use.