This post is part of a blog museum, archiving old writing from a previous blog.
Reinventing the Blade
Come on. Let’s face it. Swords are cool… but when everyone and their grandmother is using a sword in your world, it gets a little dull after a while. Just because the elements of certain types of weapons are well known, that doesn’t mean you should discard the ideas completely. In fact, he best way to design your own instruments of mass terror is to figure out what it is about that double-bladed battle ax or two-handed long sword that makes it frightening in a dark alley.
Mixing and matching function and design from existing weapons is a good way to draft your new creation. Do you like the reach of a pole arm and the versatility of a double-edge sword? Or maybe your thing is wide fanning blades of a double ax coupled with a stout, bludgeoning grip of spiky doom!
Yes. Spikes of doom are good.
Take this original weapon, the Bhinod, for an example of a mixed-type design. First, it can be used as a one-handed or two-handed weapon. What you see in the picture is the two-handed version. However, the chain can retract all the way, and the grip of the sickle part clicks down inside the wooden barrel grip of the spear-point part. When in single-handed form, it works fairly similar to a normal hand scythe.
The chain can be used to flail, trip, choke and hinder opponents. The sickle can be used for close-in slashing, or thrown for a distance attack. The spear-point can be used for stabbing and piercing.
Throw in a strange name from another language and you have your design complete!
Keep in mind that existing weapons are designed a certain way for certain reasons. Some are meant to have pointy bits that pierce into an opponent through openings in the armor. Some are meant to slash at an enemy and leave them a big gaping bloody mess. Some are built blunt and heavy, sometimes with spikes, with the idea that you can bash the living crud out of anyone who annoys you. Spikes are always good.
When designing your new type of weapon, keep the function and purpose of your design in mind. Ask yourself how effective it would be for the warriors using it. Ask yourself what sort of armor and weapons their opponents will be using. Would a piercing type weapon work better to get in the cracks of plated-armor knaves? Or maybe something heavy and blunt for knocking helms off… taking the head with it is always preferred.
To keep it short, your weapon can be a mixture of designs with a number of different types of attacks available. And though it’s a fantasy weapon, one should remember to keep it believable in size, weight and function. If you can’t answer the question of “What can this weapon do and why?” then maybe you should reconsider your design.
Spicing It Up
If your world’s rules of magic allow, you may want to add another touch to your weapon: an enchantment or magical quality. This doesn’t have to be anything super calling-stars-from-the-sky extraordinary. In fact, most real warriors would scoff at having too much magic getting in the way of what should be pure battle goodness. But it never hurts to give your weapon a little extra pizazz.
Remember, not all enchantments have to have a positive outcome. You could always bug the crud out of your characters by giving them awesome weapons with really annoying side effects. That’s especially fun for characters that tend to be a little too snoopy and liberal on the pickpocketing than they should be.
One Last Option: Naming
Nothing is cooler than a weapon that is also a proper noun. If you look throughout the history of heroes and fantasy stories, many great stories have specially named weapons. If your new weapon is something legendary in nature, you may consider adding to its overall personality and uniqueness by naming it.
Now with all that said and done… what are you waiting for? Give your warriors some new toys to play with today! They’ll thank you. I promise.