Parrying Flails

As explained under Fencing Parries (p. 221), the inability of the rapier, saber, and smallsword to parry flails (see p. B405) is a consequence of blade design, not weapon skill. Any weapon that works with the Main-Gauche, Rapier, Saber, or Smallsword skill and at least one Melee Weapon skill other than those four can parry flails at the usual penalties. This includes the edged rapier (and any other rapier that weighs 3 lbs. or more), jian, jutte, sai, and short staff (which is identical to a baton).

Pollaxe (p. B272) - Europe. The Basic Set calls this a "poleaxe" and not a "pollaxe." The error is forgivable for the weapon given there: a large axe head on a long pole -a battlefield polearm. The Dueling Pollaxe (pp. 229-230) is nearly identical but shortened for personal combat. However, "pollaxe" often refers to a far more elaborate dueling polearm with an axe or hammer head, a beaked peen, a top spike, a spiked butt, and a metal-reinforced shaft. Use the Dueling Halberd (pp. 229-230) statistics; the only effect of a hammer head is to exchange the swing+4 cutting attack for a swing+4 crushing attack. Purpose-built for Pollaxe Fighting (p. 191) between armored knights, this polearm is optimized for the Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111). Even in games that don't use the Defensive Grip option, the GM should allow it with this weapon.

Prodd (p. B276) - Europe, Middle East. "Prodd" or "prod" means the bow assembly of any Crossbow (p. B276). It's also the name of a bird-hunting crossbow that launches lead pellets instead of bolts. Furusiyya (pp. 159-161) practitioners use special prodds that lob primitive naphtha grenades. These get Acc 1 and Range -/x5, and can't shoot pellets. See Molotov Cocktails and Oil Flasks (p. B411) for the effects of a hit.

Puñal - Philippines. A knife of any size. Treat as a Dagger (pp. B272, B276), Small Knife (pp. B272, B276), Large Knife (pp. B272, B276), or Long Knife (pp. 228-229).

Qian Kun Ri Yue Dao (pp. 226, 230; illustration, p. 56) - China. The "heaven and earth, sun and moon sword" is a 4' to 5' metal bar with a sickle-like blade at either end. The wielder holds it across his body with his hands inside a pair of handguards - each with another crescent-shaped blade on it. He can cut and thrust with one end, "punch" in close combat, or use both ends at once for a Dual-Weapon Attack against two adjacent foes. Attacks with this complex weapon are at -1.

Quarterstaff (pp. B273-274) -Universal. A balanced 5' to 7' wooden pole, wielded two-handed (often in a central grip). It enjoys worldwide praise for its defensive utility and ability to deal combat-winning blows. The GM should allow it to benefit from Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons (p. 123), even if he doesn't otherwise use that rule. Soldiers regularly learned staff fighting to ensure that they could defend themselves if their polearm lost its head. A broken polearm uses the statistics for a Long Staff (p. 230)


- as does the traditional 8' to 9' medieval European quarterstaff. Drag limits the striking power of a long staff, and it requires a Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111) to be useful at close range.

Rapier (pp. 227, 229, B273; illustration, p. 219) - Europe. A long, one-handed sword with a stiff, narrow blade built for stabbing (but not for parrying - rapierists often carried a secondary weapon or a cloak for defense). Despite modern misconceptions, the rapier isn't flimsy or fragile; it's simply longer and thinner than a military cut-and-thrust sword of similar weight, as befits a civilian weapon designed to combat lightly armored foes. There are many variations. The Light Rapier (p. 229) is a later-era weapon well on its way to becoming a Smallsword (p. B273). In the other direction, there were longer rapiers calculated to give a tactical edge in a duel. Historically, the rapier "arms race" led to lengths so extreme that London had a law restricting length, enforced by snapping off the excess! Such blades aren't practical for adventurers. Early rapiers generally had sharp edges and enough weight for cutting, and later blades sometimes emulated this. These are the Edged Rapier (p. 229) and Light Edged Rapier (p. 229), respectively.

Repeating Crossbow (p. 231; illustration, p. 97) - Asia. A CROSSBOW (p. B276) that's first loaded (from a gravity-fed "magazine") and cocked, and then fired, by pushing and pulling a lever. It has no separate trigger and can't be carried cocked. The shooter must take a Ready maneuver immediately before each shot, but can shoot every other second.

Ring Sword - China. A Large Falchion (p. 227) decorated with rings on the back edge.

Rokushaku Kama - Okinawa. A kama (Sickle, p. 226)-Quarterstaff (pp. B273-274) combination. See Combination Weapons (p. 214).

Rokushakubo - Okinawa. A Quarterstaff (pp. B273-274), tapered at the ends.

Rondel Dagger (p. 228; illustration, p. 11) - Europe. A heavy dagger with broad discs as its pommel and hand-guard. The pommel design lets the user drive a blow home with the other hand, erasing -2 of the penalty for targeting chinks in armor (p. B400). If the wielder is wearing gauntlets (any gloves with DR 4+), the discs lock the weapon in place point-down: the wielder must use a Reversed Grip (pp. 111-112) but gets +2 to resist disarming.

Rope Dart (p. 229; illustration, p. 233) - China. A small metal throwing spike on the end of a rope. This lets the user retrieve the projectile after hurling it. The dart is smooth and bullet-shaped - not barbed - and can't snag and reel in the target. Light, ranged, and retrievable, the rope dart is a useful backup weapon for cavalry.

Saber (p. B273) - Europe. A light, one-handed cut-and-thrust sword built for fencing.

Sai (pp. 227-228, 231; illustration, p. 133) - Okinawa. A three-tined metal truncheon with a long central spike and a pair of short side prongs. Most often both side prongs point forward, but sometimes one is reversed (no game effect). Historical weapons had sharp points, but improvised and modern ones might be blunt. Similar weapons exist throughout Asia; several predate the sai.

San Jie Gun - China. See Three-Part Staff (p. 225).

Sap Glove (p. 226) - Universal. A soft leather glove with steel shot or lead powder sewn into it to increase punching power. Gives the hand DR 2 and Bad Grip 1 (p. B123).

Scimitar - Asia. A blanket term for a curved, one-handed slashing sword from Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, or South Asia, such as the kiljic (Ottoman Empire), podang (Indonesia), shamshir (Persia), shasqa (Russia), or talwar (India). A light one is a Shortsword (p. B273); a heavier one is a Cavalry Saber (p. B271) if steeply curved, a Thrusting Broadsword (p. B271) otherwise. A curved chopping sword, also common in these parts, is a Falchion (p. 229) or a Large Falchion (p. 227).

Scythe (p. B274) - Universal. A big sickle, used to harvest grain. Rarely a dedicated weapon - but a weaponized scythe forms the basis of the okusarigama (p. 221).

Segu - Indonesia. A slender metal Baton (p. B273).

Shield (pp. B273, B287) - Universal. Shields of all sizes appear worldwide. Some are designed for offense. A spiked boss (p. B273) adds $20 and 5 lbs. A sharpened edge - just a portion, for the bearer's safety! - is an option for any metal shield. This adds no cost or weight, and inflicts swing-2 cutting damage. Light shields can have one or two knives attached to the grip (like the Indian madu), making knife attacks an option for the shield hand without sacrificing blocking - although Knife and Shield skills are at -1. Add the cost and weight of the chosen knives.

Short Staff (p. B273) - Universal. A balanced stick, between 25" and 36" long, made of rattan (often fire-hardened) for training, hardwood for fighting. often used in pairs.

Shortsword (p. B273) - Universal. A one-handed cut-and-thrust sword between 18" and 24" long.

Shuriken (p. 226, B276; illustration, p. 84) - Japan. An entire class of metal throwing weapons - small enough to conceal in clothing or hair - hurled with a flick of the hand or a snap of the wrist. Historically, they were samurai weapons as much as "ninja weapons." The best-known are star shuriken, which are disc-, cross-, or star-shaped, with sharp edges or spikes. Most have three to nine points, with four or eight being usual. A few are S-shaped. Any might have holes cut in them to make a distinctive sound in flight - as a psychological ploy, for signaling, or merely to show off. Spike shuriken resemble needles. Sharp at one end, the other end may be blunt, sharp, or have a fin-like tail. All shuriken use the statistics on p. B276, but alter

Silly Weapons

Realistic "martial-arts weapons" can be inefficient, overly complex, and/or hopelessly specialized. Cinematic ones are often all of those things and silly, too! They're still terrifyingly effective in their native setting, though. Below are some fictional examples. Cost, weight, and other details are deliberately left vague. Such factors seem quite irrelevant to the cinematic schoolgirls and old men who wield these weapons.

Buzzsaw Ball-and-Chain: This schoolyard classic combines the benefits of a heavy kusari and a giant morningstar! Now with spring-loaded saw blades in the ball. (The chain strikes with Kusari skill for thrust+3 crushing. The ball uses Two-Handed Flail skill for swing+4 crushing. Popping the blades takes a Ready maneuver but makes damage cutting. Reach 1-4*.)

Decapitating Hood: There's nothing quite like a chain that ends in a metal bell full of whirling blades. Catch your enemy's head in it to decapitate him. Fling the severed head at his friends to send an unmistakable message. True masters will want two! (Decapitating Hood is a unique DX/Very Hard skill. Roll at -5 to drop the bell over an opponent's head. It inflicts 5d cutting damage per second to the neck until the victim dies of decapitation. Expelling the head gives +5 to Intimidation. Ejecting a head or readying the weapon after a throw requires a Ready maneuver. Reach 1-10.)

Doom Pincers: What's better than a heavy gauntlet fitted with razor-sharp shears? One with a powerful clockwork engine, of course! (The blades can strike as a regular shortsword or grapple at -2 to grappling skill. Grappled foes take 2d cutting damage per second to the grappled body part. Reach C, 1.)

Sword-Chuks: Two swords linked pommel-to-pommel with a chain let you use slick nunchaku moves to slice and dice enemies. Yes, these are full-length swords - and that means superior reach! (Treat exactly as a nunchaku except that damage is cutting and reach is 1, 2.)

Whip-Blade: This sword is actually five blades linked end-to-end by a chain. A clever mechanism hidden in the handle lets you pull the sections together into a chopping blade or loosen them to create a deadly metal whip. (Functions as a regular falchion, wielded with the Shortsword skill, or as a two-yard whip that inflicts cutting damage, which uses the Whip skill. Changing modes requires a Ready maneuver.)

damage to thrust-2 impaling for spike shuriken. It's possible to claw with a shuriken held in the hand; see the Melee Weapon Table (p. 226, 230). Cinematic ninja sometimes do this with shuriken held in the toes, which requires a perk equivalent to Capoeira's Razor Kicks (p. 154) and uses identical rules.

Siangkam - Indonesia. An arrow-like metal dagger used in one hand (often one in each hand). Treat as a Small Knife (p. B272) that's only capable of thrusting attacks.

Sickle (p. 226) - Universal. A weaponized farmer's tool. The blade on a weapon-quality sickle is usually straight, not crescent-shaped. This allows hooking and swung impaling attacks.

Slashing Wheel (p. 228) - China. A semicircular blade, sometimes toothed, gripped by a crossbar and used to cut opponents. often used in pairs.

Sleeve Sword - China. A spring-loaded Shortsword (p. B273) attached to the arm. See Trick Weapons (p. 218) for rules.

Improvised Weapons

A real weapon is preferable to an improvised one - but an improvised one is much better than nothing. Below are some everyday items that can stand in for real weapons at skill and/or damage penalties. The skills or techniques needed appear in brackets. The Improvised Weapons perk (p. 50) for a skill allows you to ignore penalties to that skill but not to damage.

Treat an improvised weapon as cheap for all purposes. If it uses an unarmed skill or technique, the user can still parry with his hand. If it uses a weapon skill, it can't parry unless specifically noted. Glass objects break on 1-3 on 1d on any strike or parry; on a 1, you also suffer thrust cutting damage to the hand.

Barbell: Swing as maul at full damage [Two-Handed Axe/Mace-2]. Can parry.

Belt: Choke as rope garrote at -1 damage [Garrote-1]. Strike with buckle as life-preserver at -1 damage [Flail-1]. Strike or entangle as one-yard whip at -1 damage [Whip-2].

Bootlaces: Choke as rope garrote at -1 damage [Garrote-

Bottle, Broken: Strike as small knife at full damage but armor divisor (0.5) [Knife-2].

Bottle, Intact: Strike as knobbed club at -2 damage [Axe/Mace-2]. If it breaks, treat as "Bottle, Broken." Can parry.

Bra: Choke as rope garrote at -1 damage [Garrote-2]. Underwire can rake at +1 "damage" [Eye-Rake-1].

Car Antenna: Swing as baton or short staff at -2 damage [Shortsword-1 or Smallsword-1] - or at full damage with a bunch [Shortsword-2 or Smallsword-2]. Can parry.

Chain, Unweighted: Strike as kusari at -1 damage [Kusari-1] or entangle as kusari [Kusari-4]. Cheap chain is $6 and 2 lbs. per yard.

Chopstick: Punch as yawara [Hammer Fist-1].*

Comb or Brush: Punch as yawara [Hammer Fist-1].*

Credit Card: Cut with edge for swing-4 cut, maximum 1d-4 [Brawling-4, Karate-4, or Knife-4].*

Curtain Rod: Strike as jo at full damage if solid, -2 damage if hollow [Broadsword-1, Staff-1, or Two-Handed Sword-1]. Can parry.

Dental Floss, Entire Braided Spool: Choke as wire garrote at -2 damage [Garrote-3].

Dumbbell: Swing as small mace at full damage [Axe/Mace-1]. Can parry.

Earring Posts, Pins, etc.: Rake at+1 "damage" [Eye-Rake-1].*

Eyeglasses: Rake at +1 "damage" [Eye-Rake-1], automatically ruining them as eyeglasses.*

Ice Scraper: Swing as small knife at -2 damage [Knife-1].

Magazine, Tightly Rolled: Thrust (not swing) as baton at full damage [Shortsword-1]. Can parry.

Nail Clippers: Stab as dagger at -3 damage [Knife-2]. Rake at +1 "damage" [Eye-Rake-1].*

Pen or Pencil: Stab as dagger at -2 damage (-1 for a huge pen) [Knife-1].

Purse, Clutched: Use for two-handed punch [Two-Handed Punch-2]. Doesn't affect damage but eliminates extra risk of hand injury.

Purse, Swung on Strap: Strike as life-preserver at -1 damage [Flail-1].

Rim of Bottle, Can, or Glass: Punch as yawara [Hammer Fist-1].*

Ruler, Steel: Strike as one-yard urumi at -2 damage [Whip-2]. Too whippy to use with Knife skill!

Scarf: Choke as rope garrote at full damage [Garrote-1]. Knotting something heavy into an end creates a weighted scarf that strikes at full damage [Flail-1].

Scissors: Stab as dagger at -1 damage [Knife-1].

Shank or Shiv: A sharpened spoon, toothbrush handle, etc., made by prison inmates. Stab as dagger at -1 damage [Knife-1].

Stiletto Heel: In hand, swing for swing-4 imp, maximum 1d-4 [Axe/Mace-4]. Worn, stamp at +1 damage [Stamp Kick-2].

* Warriors who know Pressure Secrets (p. B215) may use this item to punch at no penalty beyond the standard -2 for that skill. This gives +1 on the ensuing Pressure Secrets roll. An item that counts as brass knuckles or a yawara gives its usual +1 to damage. An item with an edge, like a credit card, can deal cutting damage instead of impaling damage, if the attacker prefers.

Sling (p. B276) - Universal. A thong or cord with a pouch or cup for a missile. The wielder loads the pouch, grasps both ends of the cord in one hand, whirls the loaded sling overhead (horizontally) or next to him (vertically), and releases one end to launch the projectile. Attaching a sling to a stick wielded in two hands improves leverage, thereby increasing power and range; this is the STAFF Sling. Either type of sling can lob stones or lead bullets - or even primitive Molotov cocktails (see Molotov Cocktails and Oil Flasks, p. B411), at Acc 0 and 40% normal range.

Smallsword (p. B273) - France. This one-handed thrusting sword is speedy on attack and defense, but its light weight and short reach are serious liabilities. The Dress

Smallsword (p. 229) is even lighter and shorter, but can pass as a fashion accessory.

Sodegarami (p. 230; illustration, p. 64) - Japan. A metal-reinforced staff with barbs along its length and a barbed head that's either forked or T-shaped. The design is intended to snag clothing, and the standard attack with this weapon is the Hook technique (p. 74). The similar sasumata ends in a wide, blunt fork intended to enclose the opponent's torso. Use the same statistics but remove the thrust+2 crushing attack. However, the wielder can shove (p. B372) a standing foe using the Staff skill, or pin (p. B370) him if he's prone or against a wall - both at reach 1, 2. Modern sasumata lack barbs; hooking inflicts no damage.

Southern-Iiger Fork - China. A Trident (p. 229).

Spear (p. 196, B273, B276) - Universal. A pole with a pointed stabbing head, prized for its versatility: long, useful in one hand or two, often throwable, and uniformly deadly. Many variants sacrifice some flexibility for special-purpose effectiveness. The Short Spear (p. 229) - short, one-handed, and unthrowable - is a poor man's stabbing sword. The Long Spear (p. B273) is exclusively a melee weapon, employed with or without a shield for formation fighting. The Heavy Spear (p. 229) is similar, but has an extra-wide head for disemboweling; it's so massive that it requires two hands.

Stiletto (p. 228; illustration, p. 31) - Italy. A thin, stiff dagger that can slip between the links of mail and into the joints of plate armor. The narrow blade removes -2 of the penalty for targeting chinks in armor (p. B400).

Straight Razor (p. 228) - Universal. A man's folding razor, used to slash. It can't stab or parry. See Capoeira (pp. 153154) for rules for kicking with a razor held in the toes; this gives reach 1 and +1 damage. Fine- and/or presentation-quality blades are common.

Sykes-Fairbairn Commando Knife - England. A famous knife used in Fairbairn Close Combat Training (pp. 182183). The broad, double-edged blade is, at its base, wider than the handle. Balanced for melee and throwing. Treat as a Large Knife (pp. B272, B276).

Tachi - Japan. Treat this cavalry sword as a Cavalry Saber (p. B271) or a Katana (pp. B271, B274), depending on size. The main difference from the katana is that it's slung, not thrust through a sash.

Tactical Flashlight - USA. A shock-resistant flashlight designed for use as a Baton (p. B273) is $100, 1 lb.; a tough add-on light for an existing baton is $80. A smaller light with a reinforced or toothed lens rim counts as a yawara (p. 226), and is $100, 0.25 lb.

Tanto - Japan. A chisel-pointed Large Knife (p. B272).

Tapado - Philippines. A stick equivalent to a Jo (pp. 227, 230), used with moves similar to Jojutsu (p. 192).

Tekko - Japan, Okinawa. This variation on Brass Knuckles (p. B271) generally consists of a handle or thumb and pinky rings supporting a "knuckle" of metal.

Tetsubo (p. 230; illustration, p. 61) - Japan. The name means "iron staff," but it's actually a two-handed wooden club with an iron-studded cap. Usually used in a Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111).

Three-Part Staff (p. 230; illustration, p. 9) - China. Three short staffs linked by rope or chain, used two-handed - traditionally with a Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111). The wielder can grasp it at one end and swing it as an extra-long flail, or employ both ends like clubs or nunchaku for a Dual-Weapon Attack on adjacent foes. A difficult weapon; all attacks are at -1.

Throwing Axe (pp. B271, B276) - Europe. An Axe (p. B271) balanced for throwing. It comes in many varieties. The Small Throwing Axe (pp. 226, 231) is halfway between a full-sized axe and a Hatchet (pp. B271, B276) in size. Cruciform throwing axes (and hatchets) that lack proper handles give -2 to skill as melee weapons but cost $10 less.

Throwing Knife (p. 231) - Universal. True throwing knives rarely have a handguard, often lack a substantial handle, and are balanced for hurling, not fighting. This gives -2 to skill in melee combat. Like all knives, they come in many sizes; the Large Throwing Knife and Small Throwing Knife are typical.

Throwing Stick (p. 231) - Universal. Any heavy stick balanced enough to throw.

Timbe - Okinawa. A buckler-style light Shield (pp. B273, B287) used to strike and block.

Tobiguchi - Japan. The weaponized version of a short-bladed fire hook. Treat as an unthrowable Hatchet (p. B271) capable of the Hook technique (p. 74).

Tomahawk - American Indian. A Hatchet (pp. B271, B276), Small Axe (p. 226), or Small Throwing Axe (p. 226), depending on size and balance. Often sports a back spike (pick); see Combination Weapons (p. 231).

Tonfa (p. 226; illustration, p. 89) - Okinawa. A side-handled Baton (p. B273), often used in pairs. Held in a Reversed Grip (pp. 111-112) to aid Karate parries and enhance punches, or quickly spun to strike as a club.

Tongkat - Indonesia. A Short Staff (p. B273).

Toya - Indonesia. A Quarterstaff (pp. B273-274).

Trident (p. 229) - Ancient Rome. A three-tined fork based on a fishing spear, used with a Net (p. B276) by gladiators. Multiple tines make it tip-heavy (-2 to hit) and easy to intercept (+1 to target's Block or Parry), and distribute the force of impact (armor divisor (0.5)), but are tricky to evade (-1 to enemy's Dodge).

Truncheon - Universal. A generic term for a club of Blackjack (p. B271) to Baton (p. B273) size.

Tuja - Okinawa. A small fishing trident, used one-handed. Treat as a Sai (pp. 227-228, 231) with a (0.5) armor divisor.

Uchine - Japan. A throwing arrow. Treat as a Plumbata (p. 221).

Urumi (p. 230; illustration, p. 218) - India. A one-handed sword with a long, flexible blade, used to whip the target. Cutting damage assumes that one or both edges are sharp. Blunt urumi exist; these can only make crushing attacks. Sharpness doesn't affect cost or weight.

Wakizashi - Japan. This curved Shortsword (p. B273) is the traditional partner of the Katana (pp. B271, B274).

War Fork - Europe. A Trident (see above).

Warhammer (p. B274) - Europe. A long, two-handed Pick (p. B271). Often given a heavy hammer behind the spike (see Combination Weapons, p. 214).

Weighted Scarf (p. 227) - India. A scarf with a weight in one or both ends. Famously used as a Garrote (p. B272) by the Thuggee cult, but also a serviceable light flail.

Whip (p. B274) - Universal. A length of braided leather that allows the wielder to deliver lashes or use the Entangle technique (p. 71). At 2 lbs. per yard (footnote 12, p. B274), the whip is weighted and studded. Those interested primarily in entangling can use a lighter whip that inflicts swing-5 and weighs 0.5 lb. per yard. ST is 3, +1 per yard. Other statistics (including cost) don't change.

Wooden Stake (pp. B272, B276) - Universal. A pointed stick. Better than nothing.

Yagyuzue - Japan. A walking stick made by carefully fitting bamboo segments around a flanged steel rod, encasing this composite core in papier-mache, and then lacquering the whole thing. This yields a beautiful hidden weapon. Treat it as a Jo (pp. 227, 230) with +1 to swinging damage. Its painstaking construction makes it presentation quality and fine quality. Cost - if available at all - is $100. Other statistics don't change.

Yari - Japan. A Spear (pp. B273, B276). May have an L-shaped head to facilitate the Disarming (p. 70) and Hook (p. 74) techniques; this adds $10 and 0.5 lb. Such spears aren't throwable. Yarinage - Japan. A Javelin (pp. B273, B276). Yawara - Japan. A short stick held in the fist with its ends protruding, used as a fist load and a lever. Cost and weight are as Brass Knuckles (p. B271). Gives +1 to damage with the Hammer Fist technique (p. 74) and +1 to follow-up rolls with Judo holds and locks (to injure, prevent escape, etc.). The similar dokko, kubotan, and tenouchi use identical rules. Yumi- Japan. ABow (p. B275), most often a dai-kyu (p. 215). Zweihander - Germany. A Thrusting Greatsword (p. B274) with a ricasso to facilitate a Defensive Grip (pp. 109-111).

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