Melee weapons (Action)
|Heroic Action Role-Play|
Melee Weapons Table
A table with fantasy weapon only can be found here
Melee Weapon Descriptions
The categories are flavor and have no game effect.
Axes are aggressive to the point of being dangerous to use, but versatile and dangerous.
A small axe suitable for use in the left hand. Used by some carpenters as a tool. A small sickle (known as kama in Japan) has the same function, as do small kukiri, but these cannot be thrown. Also known as a francheska.
A heavy axe often used for woodwork. About a meter long with a metal or stone head. The back of the head is sometimes fitted with a prying bar. Also known as the fireman's axe, , bearded axe etc.
An axe balanced for use in two hands only, the great axe is about 1.3 meters long. Often used by loggers.
Having a weapon that can move on its own gives great power and freedom of action, but it adds a dangerous element of unpredictability.
An oil burner at the end of a string, wire, or thin chain. Used with whirling motions, this looks very impressive but requires a fair amount of space.
Between three and six meters of corded leather, the whip tapers off to a narrow point. This amplifies the users movements; the end of the whip can move at super-sonic speeds to deliver smarting stings and create the trademark whiplash sound. The whip can be a very good weapon to stunt with and can attack a creature up to 5 meters away.
A small weighted net, about a meter in diameter and fastened by a string. It can be thrown and is mainly an entangling weapon.
Two short wooden sticks joined together by flexible joints, usually short chains. Similar to a flail but much lighter. Used as a threshing tool, this weapon was made famous by karate.
A hinged pole; a long stick connected to a short, heavy stick. The hinge is usually made of chain or steel joint, but primitive versions can use rope or sinews instead. Used as a threshing tool in agricultural societies. Also known as the footman's flail.
A short shaft with a heavy weight attacked to it by a chain. This is a proper weapon and harder to improvise. Also known as the horseman's' flail. A solid club with spikes in it is considered a Spiked Club.
A long chain with a weight at the end. Called manrikigusari in Japan. Variants use cord or wire, or fasten blades at the ends to do cutting damage. Ninja like to attach chain whip to each other or to other weapons and use them with Double Damage Dealing.
Simply a heavy chain (such as a motorcycle drive chain) or a weight fastened to a cord or chain - the later version is called a slungshot. The Kyotetsu-shoge is a similar ninja weapon, with a dagger or sharpened ring instead of the weight (doing slashing or piercing damage). It is slung with a punching motion or twirled, and can be used to strike and entangle. Mostly famous with motorcycle gangs, it was also popular with 19th century gangs as well as ninja and other warriors of subterfuge because it is lethal and easy to conceal and improvise. It is often attached to another weapon and used as an offhand compliment to another weapon, or two of them can be wielded together or the two lengths of chain or cord are combined into a longer one that is only one object but still counts as two different weapons.
The Afflox is a spiked metal ball attached to a foot-long haft by a variable-length wire. It is a favorite weapon of some techno-barbarian gangs.
When stored, the wire is retracted and the weapons appears to be a mace. During combat the wire is deployed, and the operator swings the ball in a circular motion, lengthening the wire to send the ball crashing into the target. This results in range and a kinetic boost. A skilled operator can strike a target up to ten feet away, and can also use the Afflox to trip or disarm.
Note: This weapon appears in the novel The Face by Jack Vance.
A flaming torch used as a weapon; has less striking power than a cudgel, but the fire adds some additional damage. Often the only option available when fighting supernatural creatures immune to physical damage. Made of wood and between a half and a full meter in length. A dedicated fighting torch is made of metal and uses a burning rag soaked in oil.
A stout stick of hard wood, plastics, or rubberized metal. About a meter in length, the club is easy to improvise. Commonly used in brawls.
A heavy club head mounted on a short (0.3-0.5 meter) stick. Early models use rocks fitted to bone or wood handles; later maces are made completely out of metal or high-tech materials. Very sturdy compared to other weapons of comparable technology. Known as a loaded shillelagh in Ireland.
A huge weighted club, the maul can have a hammer head or be a reinforced and weighted pole, like the Japanese tetsubo. Known as the long, loaded shillelagh in Ireland.
A club with a beak to make piercing wounds. Often improvised with stout stick and one or more iron spikes.
A heavy tool used in construction and smith-work. Made for war is has a reinforced handle but is otherwise similar.
A singlestick is a light club (about 0.3 to 0.6 meters) made of wood or rubber-coated metal. More demanding than a club, a singlestick can be improvised from more refined sticks or light metal pipes. Commonly used by peacekeepers, or as a practice weapon. Also known as baton, cane, club, tonfa, wand, switch, or swagger stick. Known as the Jo Staff in Japan. Often used as a walking stick.
Also known as a holy water sprinkler, this is a stick with a dispenser at the end that can spread liquids such as holy water, alchemist's fire, acid, or whatever else is available. The damage type depends on the substance used. It is too light to make a good club.
A rod of metal or hardwood just under a meter in length, fitted with a weighted head that has a sturdy spike of quality steel for punching through armor and a hammer head to shock what it cannot piece. Also known as the armor-breaker or warhammer, this weapon evolved from the mace - there are several intermediate forms. The estoc is a thrusting sword variant; a stiff pointed metal rod used like a short pike, but otherwise similar in game effect. Demolition crews and miners use something similar even today.
A two handed hammer with rockets mounted in the back of weapon head. Ignited by a switch on the handle, the rocket fires and delivers a very powerful blow. When the rocket is expended or not in use, this functions as a Maul.
A light rod fitted with electrodes that deliver an electric shock, sufficient to cause pain in cattle and stun humans. Runs on batteries.
The Thunder Hammer is a massive warhammer with an impact activated kinetic energy booster that uses a burst of plasma to increase the force of the impact. This creates a thundering noise and bright flash when the weapon is used. The Thunder Hammer is powered by a minicell which is good for 100 attacks. The cell is easily reloaded by plugging the weapon into a wall socket through a standard power cord.
Note: Battle Angel Alita and WH40K fans will recognize this weapon.
A weighted gauntlet, padded to absorb shock and allow more powerful blows. This can included padded gloves as well as the heavy gloves included with many types of armor. A modern boxing glove is a variant of this, as are hands wrapped in leather strips or heavy bandages. You can still use the hand for other purposes while wearing more articulated gauntlets. Also known as the cestus.
Knuckles, also called knuckledusters or brass knuckles are pieces of metal shaped to fit around the knuckles. Small enough to hide in a small pocket or in a closed fist, this makes punches do more damage. Can be improvised various ways, such as a snuffbox or using a belt and its buckle.
The Roman gladiator arm-guaurd, the galerus is a long segmented glove with overlapping metal plates going up to the shoulder and an oversize shoulder guard, usually worn on the off hand. It is used by turning it against the opponent, blocking attacks and allowing quick punches. The usual practice is to wield a weapon in the other hand. The hand with the galerus can be used for other things, such as holding a weapon, but this prevents use of the galerus.
A thin dagger usually wielded in the off hand and used with a punching motion. Sometimes called the dirk or punch dagger. Can be worn fitted to a glove (cestus) or on the back of the lower arm. Not balanced for throwing.
A development of the katar, the blade of the katar kiss is a syringe that injects the victim with acid or poison.
A palm-size, hand-held device with electrodes that deliver a stunning jolt of electricity on contact, the hand taser can usually stun a human quite easily.
A glove made of impact-reactive plastic, that instantly hardens when subjected to kinetic force. It works like an improved gauntlet and can be a very effective parrying weapon as well.
Note: This weapon appears in the novel To Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner.
A large robotic fist, worn like an oversize lower arm and hand guard and used as a melee weapon. Power Fist use hydraulic rams mounted in the fingers of the oversize mechanical hand to cause a crushing grip that can tear steel like paper. The hand cannot be used normally when the Power Fist is fitted. Sometimes worn in pairs.
It is commonly used by power armor soldier on shipboard assault missions.
Note: WH40K fans will recognize this weapon.
Pole arms are reach weapons, essentially more advanced spears. Pole arms don't have just a single point and instead have some combination of a point, hook, blade, hammer, or axe at the head. Infantry weapons, pole arms are very effective in large formations but most are also useful in personal combat.
A stout stick of hardwood, sometimes reinforced with leather or metal. Slightly taller than the wielder, some half again as tall, the quarterstaff is a surprisingly flexible weapon that can strike with either end, parry, and trip. Called the bo staff in Japan.
A short pole arm combining features of the glaive and halberd. Popular for guards as it can be made both beautiful and intimidating. It comes in innumerable variants, known as forks, spetums, ranseurs, and by a host of other names that can also be applied to longer pole arms.
A blade fitted at the end of a pole, about two meters long. Used as a thrusting and slashing weapon and to deliver butt strikes with the other end. Known as a naginata in Japan. Later developed into the halberd.
A two-pronged fork on a long pole, the fork of the man catcher is used to grab opponents and keep them at bay, while the wielder of the man catcher can hopefully remain out of their reach. Often used as a police weapon.
The ultimate pole arm, a halberd combines details and qualities of the trident, spear, axe, and quarterstaff. It can stab, slash, parry, and trip. Most late medieval and renaissances pole arms can be classified as halberds; variant names include various combinations of the words guisarme, faucard, fork, vogue, and others.
Often confused with the longer halberd, a pollaxe is chest high, with a heavy weapon head and a shaft reinforced or even entirely made of metal. It is a weapon used by knights and guards and other elite warriors. The fighting style is somewhat like that of a quarterstaff, employing the staff to parry.
A dagger fitted to the end of a Large firearm. Early models are called plug bayonets prevent the weapon from firing, later models merely interfere with loading making the firearm Unreliable.
Two blades of focused photonic energy protruding from a central handle, the light staff is used like a quarterstaff or double sword. When turned off it appears as a metal rod about half a meter in length.
Just under two meters in length, the spear is long enough to hold opponents at bay, but short and flexible enough to be used staff-fashion in restricted spaces.
A bamboo spear over two meters in length and with a large, bright tassel. The bamboo is flexible, allowing all kinds of fancy maneuvers with this weapon.
A long spear, between two and five meters. Most often used in formation and always in two hands. A long, military version of this is the pike; as a hunting weapon called the boar spear it has a crossbar to prevent an impaled animal from working up the shaft to attack the wielder.
A great spear used mounted with stirrups, allowing the wielder to use the power of his mount. Used crouching in a charge or overhand in general melee. When mounded and used crouched under the armin a charge, the lance can use the mount's Body rather than the wielder's to calculate damage.
A short spear with a three-pronged, barbed head. Originally a fishing tool. Has less penetrating power than a normal spear, but useful for entangling foes and keeping them at bay. The sodegarami is a Japanese version, that uses several prongs in an irregular pattern to entangle clothes and sleeves.
A short blade of 0.2 to 0.3 meters in length, mainly used for thrusting but balanced to be thrown. Highly concealable and very common as a tool; in many cultures it is unthinkable not to allow someone to carry a knife for daily chores, eating etc. Can be made from bronze or obsidian, but steel is the preferred material until high-impact plastics and ceramics become available. The seax is a similar Germanic tool/weapon.
A sword with a long wide blade making it an excellent cutter.
The basic long cutting blade, known variously as broadsword, scimitar, tulwar, butterfly sword, panache and by a great many other names. The blade is about a meter long and can be straight or curved, with a sharp point and one or two edges. The balance is far out along the blade, making it somewhat like an axe in use and power. This weapon and tool is used in many cultures under different names.
- A falchion is curved, widening toward the point, and had a straight, unsharpened back edge. The balance is far out along the blade, making it somewhat like an axe in use and power.
- The machete is a tool for clearing vegetation and sometime weapon that differs from the falchion mainly in the lack of a guard and a simpler hilt, though some machetes do have a guard for greater protection of hands during work.
- A cutlass is a short, broad sabre or slashing sword, with a straight or slightly curved blade sharpened on the cutting edge, and a hilt often featuring a solid cupped or basket shaped guard. A common naval weapon.
- The kopis is an ancient Greek tool/weapon comparable to the machete. The makhaira and kopesh were also similar, but intended primarily to be weapons rather than a tool.
- The kukri is a Nepalese curved blade used for many purposes similar to the machete but also used for slaughtering animals. Small kukiris correspond to the Hand Axe.
- The parang is a Malaysian knife that many machetes are based on.
- The grosse messer is a large knife from medieval Central Europe, employed both as a tool and as a weapon.
- The fascine knife is a somewhat similar tool/weapon used by European armies throughout the late 18th to early 20th centuries.
- A very large meat cleaver can also function as a scimitar.
A short stabbing weapon suitable for tight formations.
A mix of Scimitar and Short Sword, the side sword is good at both hacking and stabbing. It is relatively short and lacks an elaborate pommel, making it easy to wear. An expensive weapon at lower tech, this is reserved for officers and nobles until late in the Blacksmith era.
The long sword is slightly longer than a broad sword (over a meter in length) and has a handle made for two hands. It can be wielded one-handed, but is often used with two hands to deliver mighty blows to pierce the improving armor of its time. Variously known as the hand-and-a-half or Claymore and is the epitome of knightly weapons.
A short blade, ubiquitous as a tool, most everybody up until modern times would carry a knife for a hundred practical purposes. It has a blade around 10 cm in length, pointed and usually single-edged. As a weapon, a knife is not impressive. It is a civilian's weapon of desperation.
A larger version of the broadsword, up to two meters in length and balanced for two hands.
A robust dagger or metal baton fitted with prongs for catching an opponents weapon. Japanese versions are known as the jitte and sai.
An early fencing weapon, the rapier is a very long, thin thrusting sword. Generally more than a meter in length and square or triangular in cross-section it lacks an edge and is somewhat clumsy. Its assets lie in reach, penetration, and interception. If this does not match your idea of a what a rapier is, look up Smallsword.
A curved sword of extreme sharpness, the katana is an extraordinary cutting weapon, valuing damage over every other consideration. Exceptionally fine sabres and scimitars might work in the same way. The smaller companion wakizashi is a much more conventional blade, and considered a short sword.
Many katanas were actually court swords intended more for display than for action; only heavy swords intended for combat do this much damage. Connoisseurs know them under a variety of specialized names.
A thin thrusting sword, about 0.6 to 0.8 meters long and with an elaborate hilt. A development of the rapier into a shorter, more flexible weapon, the smallsword is mainly a thrusting weapon but may also have an edge. The Cane Sword or swordstick is a variant that is concealed inside a walking stick or similar item, giving up the elaborate hilt and Parry ability for its concealment. The smallsword is so versatile that you cannot use all the abilities at once, you have to decide between Rash and Parry/Interrupt.
A development of the longsword, the zweihander is overall a little longer, but is lighter and has a shorter blade and longer handle, making it possible to wield it somewhat like a staff or halberd. The oversize hand guard and wide, sometimes serrated edge is ideal for cutting spears and pikes and for occupying a large area on the battlefield.
A headsman's weapon, with its balance near the point and possibly with leverage-enhancing mechanism like quicksilver running inside the blade. This can be a sword or an axe with identical game values.
A petrol-powered chain saw is a terrible weapon, if heavy and unwieldy.
An electric chainsaw with a straight, light blade. Much easier to use than a regular petrol-driven chain saw. Uses a cord or runs on a rechargeable battery of short duration. A hedge cutter can serve as an improvised chain sword.
The apex of blade development, a power sword uses inertia-amplifying technology to deliver extremely powerful blows.
A blade of focused photonic energy, the beam sword is similar to a smallsword in appearance and use. When turned off, it appears as a basked hilt; often finely decorated. This is a high-tech dueling weapon, and as such is often a sign of nobility.
A blade of focused photonic energy, when turned on it is similar to the katana in use but with a straight blade. When turned off, it is a short rod about 0.2 meters in length. A prestigious weapon, the light sabre is associated with honor and martial orders.
A simple rock, held in the had or thrown. Often the only ranged weapon available to ogres and giants. Some small, dense object that can serve as a rock in an emergency can be found almost anywhere.
A small fencing shield, originally made of strong natural materials such as tortoise shells, later of metal as smithcraft advanced. A useful defense in melee, it combined well with maces and rapiers and can also be used to deliver solid punches.
A buckler made more dangerous with a spike in the center and possibly more spikes or a sharpened rim.
Known as Tessen in Japan, this is a fan built on a metal frame with sharp, cutting edges. The fan can be made folding, but this is a matter of style more than function. Once used in combat, the soft parts of the fan are ruined making it lose it's Slickness, but this is pretty easy to repair and does not prevent the fan from being used as a weapon.
Another tool that can be used as a weapon to great effect, the welding torch is a gas tank fitted to a burner. It is very frail; cutting the hose usually results in a jet of flame directly from the gas tank and might lead to an explosion. A blowtorch designed to be used as a weapon would not have this weakness.