Do You Know Your Glaive-Guisarme From Your Bohemian Earspoon?

Weapons are a large part of any fantasy game. Sometimes they are detailed individually, with crunchy statistics; sometimes they are merely left as flavour. However, it can be fun to imagine the weapons your character is wielding. Halberds, maces, rapiers, guisarmes, glaives, arquebuses, firelances, crossbows, and more make up the armories of any fantasy realms. Straight from the pages of [WOIN] Archaic Equipment, the upcoming sourcebook for the What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. roleplaying game system come these illustrations of a wide range of weapons from artist Egil Thompson.


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Russ Morrissey

Comments

aramis erak

Explorer
That is beautiful artwork. I wish more games did this; all too often, they leave the research up to the players/GM, and...well, I'm lazy.
Too bad that most people don't look, because they assume TSR actually did competent research.

No serious historian divides the weapons as finely as AD&D's UA does.
Further, a number of things therein claimed to be different are just two different regional names for the same thing.

The illustrations at top are little better....
Claidhmore is just scottish for a war sword - be it a basket hilted single edge or a 2 hander with double edges... and the one shown is impractically scaled. The basket is fine, but that style of basket should be about 6" to 7" length, putting the blade at about 42" to 49" double edge, rather than the single or 1.5 edge 35-40" historically common with that type of hilt.

That warhammer is pure fantasy. most of the blades are poorly (but prettily) presented.
 

timbannock

Explorer
Too bad that most people don't look, because they assume TSR actually did competent research.

No serious historian divides the weapons as finely as AD&D's UA does.
Further, a number of things therein claimed to be different are just two different regional names for the same thing.

The illustrations at top are little better....
Claidhmore is just scottish for a war sword - be it a basket hilted single edge or a 2 hander with double edges... and the one shown is impractically scaled. The basket is fine, but that style of basket should be about 6" to 7" length, putting the blade at about 42" to 49" double edge, rather than the single or 1.5 edge 35-40" historically common with that type of hilt.

That warhammer is pure fantasy. most of the blades are poorly (but prettily) presented.
A great point. Being able to compile this stuff so that we have realistic versions and more fantastical stuff...and keep it separate! That'd be awesome. But with very few exceptions, this stuff is just left picture-less and poorly described in most RPG releases.
 
I do believe that the double headed battleaxe is purely a creation of hollywood and fantasy novels. I remember reading that there was no real evidence that the existed historically.

Would love to hear from someone that knew more or knew different.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
I do believe that the double headed battleaxe is purely a creation of hollywood and fantasy novels. I remember reading that there was no real evidence that the existed historically.

Would love to hear from someone that knew more or knew different.
According to Matt Easton of Scholagladiatora other cultures sometimes had them, although they may have been mostly ceremonial.

The Dane Axe of the vikings was typically one-sided.
Later Pole Axes often had a second head that was a hammer or spike for dealing with armour, so you could hammer that out into a second axe head if you wanted to, without significantly changing the handling of the weapon. But the question I guess is, why would you want a second axe head? (You've already got one - might as well have something different).

I'm not aware of any actual two handed warhammers that weren't effectively a type of pole-arm (although archers may have used their wooden mallets for driving stakes into the ground as weapons in a pinch).

Also that Warhammer in the first page is a pure fantasy weapon - the one labelled, for some reason, a 'militiary pick' is in fact an actual warhammer.
 
According to Matt Easton of Scholagladiatora other cultures sometimes had them, although they may have been mostly ceremonial.

The Dane Axe of the vikings was typically one-sided.
Later Pole Axes often had a second head that was a hammer or spike for dealing with armour, so you could hammer that out into a second axe head if you wanted to, without significantly changing the handling of the weapon. But the question I guess is, why would you want a second axe head? (You've already got one - might as well have something different).

I'm not aware of any actual two handed warhammers that weren't effectively a type of pole-arm (although archers may have used their wooden mallets for driving stakes into the ground as weapons in a pinch).
I assume the idea behind a second axe head would be the same as having the back side of your sword edge sharpened, so that you have more freedom to swing. A single head on an axe means you have to completely reverse the weapon when when swinging. At least it would seem to me, I am not a a weapons expert by any stretch.

A second head would also mean more force behind a blow, but that would have the equal drawback of making the weapon slower on recovery as it becomes even more head heavy.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
I assume the idea behind a second axe head would be the same as having the back side of your sword edge sharpened, so that you have more freedom to swing. A single head on an axe means you have to completely reverse the weapon when when swinging. At least it would seem to me, I am not a a weapons expert by any stretch.

A second head would also mean more force behind a blow, but that would have the equal drawback of making the weapon slower on recovery as it becomes even more head heavy.
Yes. When you have to deal with heavy armour, the added weight may be an advantage. The fact that we don't see much historical double headed axes probably suggests that same weight meant that a double headed axe didn't have the same advantages as a double edged sword in terms of being able to make use of the second edge.

It's the sort of thing which would be unhistorical if you said it was common. But, it wouldn't stretch belief if say a 14th century knight had one especially made for them for some reason.

So long as it was on the end of a longer pole than is usually depicted in fantasy art.
 

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