Dragon by Dragon – February 1982 (58)

The Clyde Caldwell cover to the February 1982 Dragon Magazine is chock-full of fantasy tropes. You have the warrior woman in weird, revealing armor and a gnome fighter mounted on a giant lizard. You also get a Clyde Caldwell trope, namely lots of feathers. That said, I adore Caldwell’s work, and consider it fundamental to 80’s D&D.

We’ll begin this rule with the editorial – which is rare for me. This one deals with “assassin” and “killer” games, and is written on the subject due to an incident in December 1981 in which a college student playing Assassin was shot by police. I bring it up because I played a game of TAG (The Assassination Game) in junior high school. Well – briefly. I managed to get assassinated while walking from first to second period, but remember that by lunch period we were informed that the school had put an end to it due to one idiot performing an assassination during class. I suppose these days the entire school district would be put on lockdown if some kids were playing “assassination”.  What odd memories we nerds have of youth.

The first big article this month is by Len Lakofka, who is “Beefing up the Cleric.” This article introduces a multitude of new cleric spells that will show up later in official AD&D product. They include ceremony, combine (a neat idea), magic stone, magic vestment, messenger, dust devil, enthrall and negative plane protection. One spell I didn’t immediately recognize – readers of this blog might have better memories than I – Death Prayer (2nd level). This spell reduces the likelihood of a corpse being animated at a later date.

The Dragon’s Bestiary includes the sull and beguiler by Ed Greenwood and Magenta’s cat by Roger E. Moore. These last monsters are the descendants of a cat familiar who was made psionic by its mistress, Magenta, and in the process freed from its obligations as a familiar. It went out and made babies, and they inherited the psionic powers. It’s a very cool idea – a psionic cat causing trouble in a village, trouble blamed on some legendary menace the adventurers try to hunt down.

Michael Parkinson offers up “Medusa’s Blood”. This article details the many creatures that were born from Medusa’s blood, including old fantasy favorites like Pegasus, the Lernaean hydra, the chimera, Cerberus and the Theban sphinx. Some new monsters from the lineage of Medusa include Geryon (the three-headed and three-bodied giant, not the demon lord), Echidna and the Blatant Beast.

The Medusa article is followed up by “Four Myths from Greece”, with stats for Atalanta the huntress (9th level fighter), Daedalus (sage/engineer), the Sybil of Cumae (16th level cleric) and Chiron (15th level centaur ranger).

Dragon 58 has a special section all about dwarves, featuring “The Dwarven Point of View”, “The Gods of the Dwarves”, “Sage Advice on Dwarves” and “Dwarven Magical Items”. Dragon did a few of these series, and elements of them became standard parts of Dungeons & Dragons in later days, especially the dwarven pantheon. Roger E. Moore’s “The Dwarven Point of View” is one of those articles that represents the inflection point of the original DIY days and the middle phase of “explain it all”. It’s a useful article for folks new to fantasy gaming, but I suppose some folks didn’t like the Dragon magazine doing articles that might tie their creative hands, what with it being “semi-official” in D&D world.

I liked this bit from “Sage Advice”:

“Why aren’t ettins mentioned among the bigger creatures which attack dwarves and gnomes at -4?

Ettins may be big and dumb, but they don’t suffer any penalty “to hit” against dwarves and gnomes because of the most obvious difference between ettins and other big humanoids: their two heads. In the words of the Monster Manual, “One of the ettin’s heads is always likely to be alert, so they are difficult to surprise.” And, presumably, also difficult to sneak up on in any other way.”

Now let’s be honest – the answer here is “crap, we forgot to include the ettin”.

Another question that struck me is one that shows a clash of mindsets that I’ve seen myself in our hobby. The question writer asks:

“What would be a reasonable spread of races and sub-races for adventurers and NPCs? For instance, what would be the chance of a PC dwarf being a mountain dwarf?”

An interesting question, and one that would be answerable in a particular campaign, or if there was really such a thing as dwarves and we have solid demographic data on  them. I appreciate the answer:

“The chance of a player character dwarf being a mountain dwarf is 100% — if the player wants to be one, and if no circumstances of the campaign prohibit such a choice.”

I’ve fielded a few similar questions from people reading my games, as though I had some special right to tell them what they could and could not do in their own homes. Some folks have the mindset that there is a “right and wrong” to these games we play, and they seek answers from “authorities”. This isn’t a dig against these folks – it’s just a way of looking at things that differs from mine that I find interesting.

On the topic of “The Gods of the Dwarves” – I really loved Moradin when I was a kid. The demi-human pantheon was another case for me, as a young man, of being amazed that you could make up pretend gods and goddesses for a game. This article also introduces a new undead monster – the rapper.

This issue of Dragon also has a bit of fiction from J. Eric Holmes called “The Bag”. It involves a character of his called Boinger. I haven’t read this one, but I’ll include the first couple paragraphs as a taste for those who might want to delve deeper:

“Perhaps the small master is looking for something special?”

The muscular young halfling put down the leather backpack he had been examining and looked at the person who had addressed him. He was worth looking at, Boinger decided. For one thing, his species was not one the adventurer had ever seen before. The creature was obviously not human; his complexion was slate grey and his face was covered with wrinkles so that it looked like a folded piece of linen with a long, pointy nose sticking out. He was shorter than Boinger himself. Some sort of gnome, the halfling thought, out of the north, I suppose. Shorter than a dwarf, taller than a Lilliputian …”

In Robert Barrow’s “Aiming for Realism in Archery: Longer Ranges, Truer Targets” you get another article trying to make the game more realistic. This one has a useful little table about archery accuracy derived from medieval tournament data:

This article is followed up by “Bowmanship Made More Meaningful” by Carl Parlagreco. This one introduced the idea of minimum strength scores for different bows – a 16 for composite longbows, for example, or 8 for short bows. Using a bow without having the strength required presents a -2 penalty to hit per point of strength deficiency. There’s more – so check it out if you like more realism in D&D.

David Nalle presents “Swords – Slicing Into a Sharp Topic”, which gets into the weeds on that fantasy staple, the sword. You get information on its history and construction. No game stats in this one, but good information for folks new to the topic.

There is also an article by Glenn Rahman on the Knights of Camelot Game. I’ve never played the game, so I cannot review the article, per se, but I love the bit on “Acts of Villainy”. These include:

  1. Distressing a Lady
  2. Imprisoning Persons
  3. Looting a Shrine
  4. Piracy
  5. Seizing a Castle by Storm
  6. Slaying a Good Knight
  7. Slaying a Goodly Hermit Man

This is a great checklist for Chaotic/Evil characters in any game – try to do three or four of these things in every game. The article also has two awesome little tables – the kind of random fun that screams old school gaming to me. The first deals with the merchant ships you might run into while being a pirate:

The second is a random table of dying curses from goodly hermits:

It is so hard to keep track of things like this, but I love the idea of using them during play.

Speaking of useful stuff, Jon Mattson’s “Anything But Human” is for Traveller, but could be useful to anyone. It is a collection of random tables for creating aliens. As always, my review of this article consists of using it – here’s my random alien:

It’s a mammal, feline, average of 67 inches tall, that has a bonus of +1 to education and a penalty of -1 to strength and social standing (which in D&D-esque games would be a bonus to intelligence and a penalty to strength and charisma). The creature has a -3 to their psionic rating. It has no special abilities.

“What’s New? – with Phil and Dixie” covers love magic in D&D. I had a crush on Dixie as a kid … and probably still do.

This issue also has cut-out counters of all the magic-user spells to aid magic-user players in keeping track of what they’re doing.

As always, I’ll leave you with Wormy …

Grandeur from Tramp

A Weapon Damage System … Cause Everything Needs a System!

A system? For something as simple as weapon damage? Why?

Blog posts, baby. I need constant validation from you, the reader, and to get it, I have to make stuff up almost every day.

Seriously, though, when I’m writing bits and pieces for games or adventures and come across a weapon that doesn’t show up in Blood & Treasure or Swords & Wizardry, I have to eyeball it. What’s the weapon like – is it deadlier? Less deadly? Etc. This system works well enough – I’m never one to get hung up on the details when it comes to slaying dragons, but I have thought about doing something a bit more rational.

Weapon Damage

To start with, we need the most basic weapon known to man … the fist. Depending on your system, a human fist usually does 1d2 or 1d3 points of damage. For our purposes, we’re going to go with 1d2.

We’re then going to rate each weapon on its physical characteristics, giving a weapon points based on these characteristics. Each point increases the damage of the weapon by one step. The damage steps are as follows:

Points / Damage
0 / 1d2
1 / 1d3
2 / 1d4
3 / 1d4+1
4 / 1d6
5 / 1d8 / 2d4
7 / 1d10
8 / 1d12 / 2d6

That’s probably enough steps for our purposes.

Let’s now take on the physical characteristics of our weapons. The characteristics we’re interested in are those that make the weapon deadlier, since weapon damage really represents the chances that any given blow will result in a foe’s death.

We’ll start with what the material of which the weapon is made. For a weapon with a metal head and a wooden haft, we’ll count the weapon as being made of metal.

Flesh and bone or leather = 0 points
Wood / stone = 1 point
Metal = 2 points

Second, we’ll think about the weapon’s length. The longer the weapon, the more likely it is to land the killing blow.

0 to 1 foot = 0 points
1 to 2 feet = 1 point
2 to 3 feet = 2 points
3 to 5 feet = 3 points
5+ feet = 4 points

Finally, we’ll take into consideration a few miscellaneous characteristics:

Weapon is edged from tip to pommel (i.e. a blade) = 1 point
Weapon has more than one attack vector* = 1 point
Weapon launched by a short bow = 1 point
Weapon launched by a longbow or crossbow = 2 points
Weapon is especially thin or light = -1 point

* By attack vector, I mean a weapon that can be used as a piercing and slashing/chopping weapon, or maybe bludgeoning and piercing. Now, one can argue that a spear, for example, could be a bludgeoning weapon because one could strike with the haft or butt, but all we’re really interested in is the ways the weapon is intended to be used.

Now, some weapons are capable of special forms of attack. For each special form of attack, you can either deduct points from the damage, or ignore this step and reward the weapon for being well designed.

Can be set against a charge = -1 pointCan be used as a shield = -1 point
Can be used as a shield and weapon simultaneously = -2 points
Can be used to disarm, entangle or trip (i.e. hooked, or chains and whips) = -1 point

One reason to do the deduction is that it might stop players from arguing that the weapon their character wields has every special ability they can think of. If they want a spear that can be set against a charge, be used as a shield and weapon simultaneously and be used to trip people, agree and reduce the its damage by 4 levels.


So, let’s see how some basic weapons come out with this system. Note – I wasn’t trying to create a system to duplicate a particular game system, so don’t be surprised when they don’t.

Clubs are wooden weapons (1 point) that are about 2 feet long (1 point). That’s 2 points, which comes out to 1d4 points of damage.

Daggers are metal weapons (2 points) that are about 1 foot long (0 points) and are edged from tip to pommel (1 point). One could argue that they can be used as slashing and piercing weapons (1 point), which would give them 1d6 points of damage. If the dagger is only good for piercing, it would do 1d4+1 points of damage.

From the dagger, we can extrapolate with the other basic swords. If a dagger does 1d6 points of damage, short swords do 1d8, long swords 1d10 and greatswords 1d12.

Spears are metal weapons, at least the head is (2 points) and are about 5 to 6 feet long (4 points). Since they can be set against a charge, they lose a point, giving them 4 points and 1d8 points of damage.

A halberd is similar to a spear, but has two attack vectors (piercing and chopping), and so does 1d10 points of damage.

A rapier is a light longsword, and so would do 1d8 points of damage. If a player decides it can be used as a shield and weapon at the same time, it does 1d6 points of damage.

A flail is tougher. If it has metal heads (2 points) and is about 3 feet long from the tip of the haft, through the chain to the tip of the head (s) (2 points), then it does 1d6. If you decide it can be used to entangle, drop the damage to 1d4+1. If it is longer, increase the damage a step. If the flail has multiple heads, you might want to bump the damage one level higher.

A metal gauntlet gets 2 points, and thus does 1d4 points of damage.

A whip is made of leather (0 points). A short whip (like a riding crop) would maybe add a point and thus do 1d3 points of damage. A bullwhip might be very long (4 points) and thus do 1d6 points of damage. Since it can entangle and trip, you can knock the damage back to 1d4+1.

An arrow has a metal head (2 points) and is about 3 feet long (2 points) and is fired from a short bow (1 point), and so does 1d8 points of damage. If fired from a longbow or crossbow, it does 1d10 points of damage. If it had a stone point, reduce the damage by one level.

Dragon by Dragon – February 1979 (22)

A new year has dawned, and February brings us an interesting cover combining a photo of miniatures, a photo of what I’m guessing are some SCA’ers bludgeoning one another, and an illustration of fantasy swordplay. Given that the byline on the cover is “Little Wars“, one can imagine what lies inside.

As has become a tradition of this series, the first thing I manage to fall in love with is the latest Ral Partha advert. If I’m completely honest, I’m not usually that enthused about their sculptures, but I love the names and notions. In this case, it’s the Army of Mu’ugalavya! I think it would make a good random encounter for any campaign – imagine a plane hopping army of conquerors carving out footholds on a thousand material planes.

When encountered, the army consists of the following:

1d6+1 Heavy Infantry (men-at-arms with platemail and spear)

1d6+2 Medium Infantry (men-at-arms with scale mail, shield and war hammer)

1d6+3 Medium Infantry (men-at-arms with scale mail, shield and barbed spear)

1d6+4 Heavy Infantry (men-at-arms with platemail and battleaxe)

1d6+5 Archers (men-at-arms with leather armor, longbow and dagger)

1d6+6 Slingers (men-at-arms with sling and hand axe)

General – fighter of level 1d6+7 in platemail with shield and longsword

When encountered, roll a reaction check:

Hostile – the army attempts to kill the encountered party to keep them from revealing their presence here

Neutral – the army attempts to capture the party and interrogate them about the surrounding lands

Friendly – the army attempts to recruit the party, promising them a share of any plunder they get

Our first article is The First Assassins by James E. Bruner, a study on the infamous Order of Assassins that once plagued the Middle East. The article gives a history of the organization. It’s really a fascinating story, and if applied to the assassins of AD&D (and its simulacra) would make that class infinitely more interesting. Imagine a world populated not with rangers who were mere fighters of the greenwood and assassins who were mere men-in-black with poisoned knives, but with the Numenoreans of Tolkien and the cultists Hasan Sabbah (or his simulacra) bent on overthrowing the most powerful religious leader in the known world. One should also note that the real assassins had their own level titles: In order from lowest to highest they were Adherents, Companions, Propagandists (remember, they were primarily preachers attempting to undermine the Caliphate that they may replace the Caliph with a member of their own sect), Greater Propagandists and Grand Headmaster of the Order.

The history continues in this issue with Irresistible Force – A Brief Account of the Rise of the Swiss Confederation with Commentary on Their Military Tactics by Gary Gygax (one can imagine from the title how brief the article will end up being). It’s quite an interesting article as well, and contains one of those percentile charts of the Swiss Army that readers of the old Monster Manual will recognize well. An army book like this would have been pretty cool back in the day – sort of a “Monster Manual” of ancient, medieval and renaissance armies. I’d like to produce something similar myself one of these days for Blood & Treasure.

Nick Nascati follows this up with Armies of the Renaissance – Part One. This article gives a brief overview of what is to come, with some history of the period (the great generals of the period, the mercenaries (which seem to be the inspiration for all those bandit troops led by high-level fighters in AD&D) and artillery).

Review time! This issue covers the following games (and I’ll include the concluding paragraph of each review):

Boardgame – Up-Scope!: “Still, you take what you can get. This one isn’t bad. I just wish it were better. Play it, before you buy it, to find whether you’ll love it or hate it. — Dave Minch”

Book – The Face in the Frost: “This well-written novel of strange hauntings, sorcerous conjurations, and outrageous humor can not be recommended too highly! Go out and get a copy right now, but be prepared to spend a long, uninterrupted period of time reading it, for you won’t want to put it away until it is finished once you begin!

(I concur on this one – great book)

Boardgame – Panzerkrieg: “All in all, this is a game which is every bit worth its $12.95 pricetag. Not only is the game colorful and well-done graphically, but it provides excellent play value for the money with its eight scenarios, each one a bit different from the others — and some with the Russians on defense, others with the Russians on the attack. There are some minor flaws, (more playtesting would have helped), but these are far outweighed by the game’s advantages and overall appeal. I recommend this title to anyone who enjoys the Eastern Front, or who simply enjoys a good historical game no matter what the subject. — Mike Carr”

Magazines – Apprentice #2 and Phoenix: “APPRENTICE is certainly bad, but for one dollar it is a value if you appreciate jokes. PHOENIX is worse, and no price is given. If it is free, you might wish to get it. – Gary Gygax”

(Bear in mind, this review came after the magazines in question wrote a bad review of The Dragon)

Up next is a big installment of Mapping the Dungeons, which presents DM’s and gaming groups and their addresses from around the U.S. and beyond. Not much of interest here other than the historical record of early players of role playing games, but I did like the little piece of art at the end by McLean. I love his comic pieces, of course, but I would have liked to have seen more of his serious stuff appear in old TSR publications.

Gary Gygax now chimes in with Dungeons & Dragon – What It Is and Where It Is Going. He mentions that perhaps 150,000 people now play D&D, and gives a brief synopsis of its history and the future he envisioned for it. He brings up AD&D, modules and similar material and … computers! One line I did like was this:

“It is my personal opinion that the game form is a classic which is of the same stamp as chess and MONOPOLY® ; time will be the judge.”

I think he got that one right, though the present copyright holders seem to be bent on proving him wrong.

Up next is an examination of a new game from TSR called 4th Dimension – a game that sounds like a mix of chess and Stratego that involves capturing an opposing Time-Lord on a circular board divided into variably sized spaces. Honestly – never heard of this one, though it sounds pretty cool. Here’s a link to Game Board Geek’s page on the game.

This is followed by a multi-page preview of the AD&D DMG – essentially a few pages from the magic items section and the attack matrices and a few more bits.

If anyone doubts that Gary Gygax did not appreciate negative criticism, one need only pick up this issue of The Dragon. He already savaged a couple fanzines, and now he offers a review of a review of AD&D’s Player’s Handbook in SPI’s house mag, Strategy & Tactics. A sample …

“What is worthy of comment, however, is the source of the critical commentary on AD&D being nothing more than a rewrite of D&D. Coming from an officer of SPI, the past masters of the rehash, artisans of the warmed-over WWII battle game, purveyors of the umpteenth version of the same, tired scenario, it is indeed a wonder that Mr. Berg would bring up such a spectre!”

I have a feeling these snipes probably turned more people away from D&D than the bad reviews.

Stalemate at Kassala is a play report of a war game that re-enacted a battle in 1541, when the Portuguese sent 400 infantry with 1000 stand of firearms and some cannon to aid the Ethiopian emperor Galawedos against an army of invading Egyptians and their Nubian allies. As you can tell from the title, it ended in stalemate.

Finieous Fingers then runs into “Grollem” and buys his precious ring of invisibility off him for 1,000 gp (actually turns out to be a fake sold by a hobbit in a Grollem suit), and then wanders into a dragon horde, where he discovers just how fake the ring is.

Ah – a classic article comes up next – Gygax’s Nomenclature of Pole Arms. I’ll say no more, for the truly initiated of the RPG community know all about it.

That’s it for February 1979! Not a bad issue really, especially because it reinforces the importance of history in D&D – it ain’t just fantasy folks.

PARS FORTUNA Preview – Weapons and Armor

Here are the pages I’m using to illustrate the basic weapon and armor types in PARS FORTUNA. Telecanter is doing something very similar on his blog.



Today I’m adding a few more monsters to PARS, working on the mini-sandbox and level 1 dungeon that are included with the rules, writing more encounters for Western Venatia (I’ll probably post a few tonight) and getting some work done on Hexcrawl Classics #2 – The As-Yet Unnamed Region that Might End Up Having “Badger” Somewhere in the Title. It feels good to be productive.

The Damager

Just discovered this on Chaotic Shiny – a cool little program that generates descriptions of damage taken in games. You simply type in the damage dice and the general type of weapon (slashing, piercing or bludgeoning) and the applicable pronoun, and it does the rest. A sample …

Mace 1d6, bludgeoning damage
– You slam its upper leg. (1 damage)
– You ruin its ankle with an elaborate move. (6 damage)
– You slam its neck. (3 damage)
– You bash its upper arm. (3 damage)
– You bash its body. (2 damage)

Lance 1d8, piercing damage
– You jab her body. (4 damage)
– You gore her torso with a fountain of blood. (6 damage)
– You pierce her shoulder. (2 damage)
– You gore her upper arm with an acrobatic move. (6 damage)
– You strike her forearm in a move that will surely leave a scar and a deadly blow. (8 damage)

Pole Arm 1d10, slashing damage
– You chop his shoulder (5 damage)
– You chop his lower leg (6 damage)
– You gash his foot with astonishing force and a jet of blood (9 damage)
– You gash his forearm with gouts of blood (9 damage)
– You chop his forearm (5 damage)

And I defy you to beat the price!

Weapon Art

I’ve been working on some simple illustrations for an article on weapons in NOD #2. Not the greatest stuff in the world, but I’m pretty happy with it.

Clubs, Staves and Maces

Axes, Picks and Chopping Blades

Quick Idea on Weapons

Thinking about the “all weapons do 1d6 damage” rules, I thought it might be useful to come up with some other reasons why one might choose one weapon over another and came up with the following. You’ll notice that I didn’t differentiate between long swords and short swords. It seems to me if all weapons are going to do the same damage, you only need to differentiate between forms rather than small differences between weapons with the same basic form.

And just for fun, consider it Open Game Content.

Axe/Curved sword/Pick/War hammer: +1 to damage due to all of the wielder’s force being concentrated on a small cutting edge or piercing point

Bow: -1 to hit (difficult to learn) but attacks twice during a round (on normal initiative and at end), +1 to damage due to all of the wielder’s force being concentrated on a small cutting edge or piercing point

Club/Staff: Nothing special

Crossbow: +1 to damage due to all of the wielder’s force being concentrated on a small cutting edge or piercing point

Dagger: Always lose initiative against longer weapons, but +1 to hit due to the greater versatility that comes with multiple angles of attack

Flail: Ignores shield bonus to AC, +1 to disarm attacks because of the chain

Javelin/Throwing spear: Nothing special

Mace: Nothing special

Sling: Nothing special

Spear/Lance: Always win initiative against shorter weapons

Sword: +1 to hit due to the greater versatility that comes with multiple angles of attack

Two-handed axe/Pole arm: +2 to damage due to all of the wielder’s force being concentrated on a small cutting edge and the heft of the weapon

Two-handed sword: +1 to hit due to the greater versatility that comes with multiple angles of attack, +1 to damage due to the weapon’s heft

Metal weapons (other than dagger) require a strength score of 9 or higher to wield properly, otherwise -1 penalty to hit.

Two-handed weapons (including bows and crossbows) require a strength score of 13 or higher to wield properly, otherwise -2 penalty to hit.

A Sword by Any Other Name

Weapons are a big part of fantasy role-playing. They are one of the main tools of the trade for vanquishing evil (or promoting it) and relieving the local humanoids of their ill-gotten booty. They are also a way that many players, especially those playing fighting-men, define their characters – archer vs. swordsman vs. weird guy who specializes in the flail.

The thousand variations on the D&D theme have introduced a few different ways of handling weapons in play, from the concept of everything doing 1d6 damage in 0E, to the introduction of variable damage types soon after, to 3rd edition’s variable damage + variable critical hit ranges + variable critical hit multipliers + different sizes + different weapon types (bludgeoning/piercing/slashing and simple/martial/exotic). AD&D’s weapon speeds and weapon vs. AC table was another way of differentiating one weapon from another, i.e. making one’s choice of weapon (or weapons) an element that could influence success or failure in the course of play.

Now, I like lots of variety in gaming, but I also like enough simplicity that I can store the vital game rules in my brain so that I rarely have to consult a book or table during play. For this reason, my desire for weapon differentiation extends about as far as variable weapon damage. Unfortunately, as a person who likes to write game material, and as an ardent devotee of Clark Ashton Smith, describing NPCs with maces and short swords can get a bit boring. So, using my dog-eared copy of Palladium’s Compendium of Weapons & Armor (one of the essential books for a Referee or a write of game material in my humble opinion), I present this handy list of weapon synonyms, along with their region of origination or most common use. The weapon types are based on Moldvay’s Red Book.

Axe, Battle (1d8)
• Africa – Elephant Axe
• Ancient – Khetan (Egypt)
• Central & South America – Maquahuilt
• East Asia – Masakari
• Europe – Bearded Axe, Bipennis, Doloire (wagoner’s axe), Sparte, Taber Axe, Toporok, Tuagh-gatha, Woodsman’s Axe
• India – Bullova, Tabar, Tabar-i-zin, Tungi, Venmuroo
• Near East – Ay-Balta
• Oceania – Balestarius, Head Axe, Udlimau

Axe, Hand (1d6) – includes sickles (*)
• Africa – Hunga-Munga, Shoka, Silepe, Throwing Irons
• Ancient – Dolabra (Rome), Epsilon Axe (Mid-East), Eye Axe (Mid-East), Novacula (Cyprus *)
• East Asia – Biliong, Kama, Kusarigama* (attached to chain), Toki Kakauroa, Piau
• Europe – Francisca, Hatchet, Hurlbat, Miner’s Axe, Thin Axe, Thrusting Axe
• India – Ancus (elephant goad), Galraki, Hoolurge, Kharga (sacrificial axe), Kodelly, Tongia
• Near East – Balta
• North America – Tomahawk
• Oceania – Adze, Arit, Kadjo, Kapak, Keerli, Pareh

Club (1d4) – includes staves (#)and throwing sticks (*)
• Africa – Kasrullah, Kerrie *, Rungu, Trombash *
• Ancient – Aclys * (Rome), Lisan (Egypt), Naboot # (Egypt)
• Central & South America – Iverapena, Macana, Pagaya
• East Asia – Bo #, Bokken (practice sword), Jo #, Kiam Bokiam, Tonfa, Yoribo
• Europe – Baculus, Blackjack, Cudgel, Maul, Quarterstaff #, Sap, Slung Shot, Truncheon
• India – Kirasoo *, Mugdar
• North America – Ga-Ne-U-Ga-O-Dus-Ha (deer antler club), I-Wata-Jinga, Ja-Dagna, Ja-Weti, Mandehi-Liguje (coup stick), Tiglun
• Oceania – Baggoro, Bi-Teran, Boomerang *, Burrong, Dowak *, Flat Club, Hoeroa, Japurunga, Kangaroo Rat *, Kauah, Kotiate, Kujerong, Kunnin *, Leonile, Lil-lil, Mabobo, Mattina, Meeri, Merai (jade club), Muragugna, Nil-li, Pacho, Pahu, Patu, Periperiu, Potu, Purijimala, Quirriang-an-wun, Rang-kwan, Sapakana, Siwalapa, Tambara, Tabutje, Tawha-tewha, Tindil, U’u, Ulas *, Uramata *, Waddy, Wahaika, Wairbi, Wakerti, Watilikri *, Weerba, Wirka, Yeamberren

Dagger (1d4) – includes knives
• Africa – Baswa Knife, Bracelet Dagger, Fantail Dagger, Forked Tongue Dagger, Kummya, Mongwanga, Pokwe, Telek
• Ancient – Falx Supina (Rome), Harpe (Greece), Parazonium (Greco-Roman), Pugio (Rome), Sica (Rome)
• East Asia – Aikuchi, Bade-Bade, Chopper, Dhaw, Golok, Hamidashi, Heyazashi, Himogatana, Koshigatana, Kozuka, Kubikiri, Kujungi, Kwaiken, Mit, Parang Ginah, Parang Latok, Piso Raut, Pisu Tonkeng, Raut, Rentjong, Siangkam (not quite a dagger, but close enough), Tanto, Tjaluk, To-Su
• Europe – Batardeau, Bodkin, Cinquedea, Chuchillo (folding knife), Degan, Dirk, Estradoit, Kidney Dagger, Main Gauche, Mattucashlass, Misercorde, Pavade, Poignard, Roundel Dagger, Scramasax, Sgain Dubh, Skain, Stiletto, Triple Dagger
• India – Bank, Buhj, Bich’hua, Bundi Katari, Chilanum, Choora, Haladie, Horn Dagger, Jamdhar Katari, Karoula, Katar, Katar Bank, Katar Dorlicaneh, Kukri, Maushtika, Moplah, Paiscush, Para-i-tutti, Phurbu, Pichangatti, Piha Kaetta, Saffdara, Vinchu
• Middle East – Acinaces. Bichaq, Chaqu (folding knife), Jambiya, Kard, Khanjar, Khanjarli, Khyber Knife, Kindjal, Pesh-Kabz, Qama, Zirah Bouk (mail-piercer)
• Oceania – Badik, Barong, Bayu, Beladau, Bolo, Buyu Knife, Halasan, Karambit, Kira (quartz blade), Kudi, Kudi Tranchang, Labo Belange, Lading, Mandaya Knife, Pahua (wooden), Palitai, Panabas, Sabit, Sadoep, Sakin, Sekin, Sewar, Tadji, Todo, Tolaki, Tombak Lada, Tuba,Wedong

Flail (1d6) – includes whips (*)
• Ancient – Flagellum (Rome)
• East Asia – Hui-Tho (bladed rope), Kau Sin Ke, Manriki Gusari, Nagegama, Nunchaku, Rante, Rante Ber Gangedug
• Europe – Ball & Chain, Bullwhip *, Cat-o’ Nine Tails *, Goupillon, Mace & Chain, Military Flail
• India – Binnol, Cumber-Jung
• Middle East – Kamcha *
• Oceania – Chemeti *, Kalus *, Laingtjat, Petjut *, Sa Tjat Koen

Mace (1d6)
• East Asia: Gunsen (war fan), Kiseru (smoking pipe), Suang-tu-fung
• Europe – Bouzdykan, Bulawa, Chacing Staff, Fist Mace, Hercules Club, Holy Water Sprinkler, Massuelle, Mazule, Pernat, Plombee, Quadrelle, Schestopjor
• India – Dhara, Gargaz, Garz, Lohangi, Ox Mace, Quoit, Shashpar, Sickle Mace, Singa (steel boomerang)
• Middle East – Dabus, Ox Mace
• Oceania – Gada, Ganjing

Pole Arm (1d10) – includes pikes (#) and tridents (*)
• Ancient – Romphaea (Greece), Sarissa # (Greece), Taru # (Egypt)
• Central & South America – Tepoztopilli
• East Asia – Bisento, Fang, Feruzue (concealed ball & chain), Half Moon, Hwa-Kek, Kongo-Zue, Kumade, Lajatang, Magari Yari *, Nagamaki, O-No, Shakujo Yari (concealed blade), Shinobi-Zue (concealed blade), Sjang Sutai, Shakwo, Sode Garami (sleeve tangler), Tetsubo, Tiger Trident *, Toyak
• Europe – Ahlspiess #, Awl Pike #, Beaked Axe, Berdysh/Berdiche, Bill, Bohemian Ear-Spoon, Brandestoc, Chauves-Spuris, Couteau De Breche, Croc, Falcastra, Falx, Feather Staff (concealed blades), Fuscina *, Glaive, Godendag, Halberd, Half Moon, Hippe, Jedburg Axe, Korseke, Langue De Boeuf (Ox Tongue), Lochaber Axe, Lucerne Hammer, Military Fork, Partizan, Pike #, Pitch Fork, Plancon A Picot #, Pole Axe, Runka, Sabre Halberd, Scaling Fork, Scorpion, Scythe, Spetum, Spontoon #, Sudis #, Voulge
• India – Khatramkha *, Kunjukdan, Saintie #, Veecharoval
• Oceania – Arbir, Hani

Spear (1d6) – includes lances (*) and throwing spears (#)
• Africa – Assegai #, Golo, Hinyuan, Kikuki, Koveh, Mahee, Makrigga, Mkuki, Sudanese Spear
• Ancient – Angon # (Franks), Cateia # (Celtic), Contus * (Rome), Egchos (Greece), Falarica (Rome), Framea * (Franks), Gaesom # (Rome), Jaculum # (Rome), Javelin # (Greece), Pelta # (Greece), Pilum # (Rome), Saunion # (Samnites), Spiculum # (Rome)
• East Asia – Dung, Hak, Hoko, Jarid #, Kamayari, Ken Shoka #, Lembing, Makura Yari, Nageyari #, Su Yari, Te Yari #, Yari
• Europe – Boar Spear, Harpoon #, Lance *, Lance-Ague * #, Pill, Zegaye *
• India – Ballam, Barchi, Bhala *, Garvo, Khundli P’Hansi, Laange, Patisthayana, Sang * (from camel back), Sangu, Shail *, Tschehouta
• Middle East – Rummh, Sinan
• North America – Ja-Mandehi *, Kahsita #
• Oceania – Aunurgith, Bandang, Bilari #, Budiak, Chimbane, Do-War, Enhero, Fal-Feg, Granggang, Irpull, Jiboru, Kadji, Kannai, Kapun, Kiero, Koy-Yung, Kujolio, Kuyan, Larna-Pe, Mon-Gil Mon-Gil, Mongile, Mu-Rungal, Nandum, Nerau, Pillara, Pouwhenua (also a staff), Sangkoh, Sanokat, Shanen Kopaton, Siligis #, Simbilan #, Sligi, Tahr Ruan, Tao, Tawok, Telempang, Tirrer, Tjunkuletti, To-Ono, Tombak, Tumpuling, Wainian, Wallunka, Wi Valli

Sword (1d8)
• Africa – Flyssa, Kaskara, Seme, Shotel
• Ancient – Spatha (Rome)
• East Asia – Dha, Dukn, Han Dachi, Katana, Sondang, Tashi
• Europe – Broadsword, Colichemarde, Craquemarte, Estoc, Falchion, Fleuret, Foil, Halstatt Sword, Karabela, Longsword, Pappenheimer, Rapier, Reiterpallasch, Sauschwerter (boar sword), Schiavona, Schnepfer, Spadroon, Tuck, Verdun
• India – Abbasi, Ahir, Dao, Firangi, Fish Spine Sword, Goliah, Gupti, Halab, Kastane, Katti Talwar, Khanda, Nagan, Pata, Pattisa, Pulouar, Ram Da’o, Sapola, Sirohi, Sosunpattah, Sultani, Talwar, Tegha
• Middle East – Karabela, Killj, Pala, Quaddara, Saif, Scimitar, Shamshir, Shashqa, Zulf-I-Khar
• Oceania – Campilan, Isau, Jumgheerdha, Pakayun, Peudeueng, Sikim Gala

Sword, Short (1d6)
• Africa – Babanga, Manople, Takouba, Wasa
• Ancient – Carp’s Tongue Sword (Europe), Gladius (Rome), Herebra (Phoenicia), Kledyv (Wales), Kopsh (Egypt), Machera (Greece), Sapara (Assyria), Seax (Anglo-Saxon), Xiphos (Greece)
• East Asia – Ama-Goi-Ken, Kamashimo Zashi, Ken, Kenuki Gata Tachi, Klewang, Luris Pedang, Ninjato, Opi, Pedang, Pira, Senangkas Bedok, Wakizashi
• Europe – Backsword, Badelaire, Baselard, Bilbo, Braquemar, Coustil A Croc, Cutlass, Dusack, Kantschar, Katzbalger, Palache, Sabre, Small Sword, Straight Sword
• India – Alamani , Ayda Katti, Kapee Dha, Kora, Shah Nawaz Khani, Surai, Zafar Takieh
• Middle East – Chereb, Goddara, Sassanid Sword, Yatagan
• Oceania – Beledah, Chundrick, Kris, Lopu, Manpau, Mentok, Perang Bedak, Parang Nabur, Parang Pandit, Piso Podang, Talibon, Tapak Kudak, Thinin

Sword, Two-Handed (1d10)
• Ancient – Dacian Falx (Celts, Germans)
• East Asia – Beheading Sword, No Dachi
• Europe – Bastard Sword, Claymore, Espadon, Executioner’s Sword, Flamberge, Zweihander
• India – Mel Puhah Bemoh
• Oceania – Dalwel

War Hammer (1d6) – includes picks (*)
• Europe – Bec-de-Corbin, Bisacuta *, Crowbill, Dagger Mace, Horseman’s Hammer, Martel de Fer, Oncin *, Tschekan Hammer
• India – Lohar *, Sabar *, Zaghnal *
• North America – Taavish

A few things I noticed while compiling this list …

Axes loom large in every culture. I’m no expert in weapon making, but my understanding is that axes only require a small strip of really good steel for their edge, so they’re much cheaper to make and maintain than swords.

Africa has some really cool axes, especially the throwing axes.

A band of kshatriyas armed with cumber-jungs sounds cooler than a band of fighting-men with flails. I would run away from both, but the former would make for a more picaresque story if I survived the experience.

Any player who was cool enough to have his fighter specialize with the Bohemian ear-spoon would probably get a secret +1 to all saving throws from me.

Oceania is club central, and if you set a game there you would probably want to differentiate the different types of clubs with different damage values.

East Asia has a penchant for making weapons that defy categories. The jitte, for example, is a parrying weapon that might be considered a mace. Other parrying weapons are the sai, segu, tau-kiev and tjabang. The adarga is a Moorish combination of spear and shield used for parrying. Europe had similar weapons; the lantern shield and sword shield. The bagh nakh, or “tiger claw” is an Indian weapon that is a bar with four or five curved blades sticking from it. Entangling or capturing weapons incude the bolas, lasso/lariat and catch pole (or mancatcher). I might do a post on exotic, strange weapons at a later date.

Daggers are ubiquitous. I’m convinced that every NPC you ever deal with should have a dagger on his or her person.