Real Steel: Short Sword

The many types of short swords have origins from almost everywhere in the old world. Indonesia has an amazing variety of big knives and short swords. The Indian region and Africa offer some of the more unusual types. Asia has a number of entries into the category, while Europe offers the small sword and the gladius, among others. I think the gladius is probably the closest thing to what we, as gamers, think of as a short sword: the classic...

Old Hat Monsters: Signature Weapons

A good gaming session has a few of the same elements as some traditional wedding receptions. Both are a gathering of friends in a festive atmosphere, likely with food at some point. As with one wedding tradition I could name, each session could feature “something old” and “something new.” Those familiar with my series here at Kobold Press know my favorite way to make nostalgic classic monsters new is to use templates to create an unexpected...

Players Guide to the Crossroads Now Available

Shadow Magic and Clockwork Kings! The Crossroads region is the heart of Midgard. Here’s where you’ll find the alleys of Zobeck, the mighty dwarven cantons, the dark pathways of the Margreve forest, the undead principalities, and the subterranean empire of the ghouls. The Players Guide to the Crossroads has new options for those who seek adventure and fortune in this exciting realm! This 36-page collection of materials provides...

Relic: Taleblade

The tale’s the thing with the artifact known as the Taleblade. Take a look at what it could bring to your campaign—it just might add another story element that your players will remember for quite awhile. The Taleblade is appropriate for mid-heroic level characters. The Taleblade begins as a sleek rapier with a silver hilt. Though masterfully constructed, the sword is unadorned. Once acquired, however, the Taleblade begins to record the...

Weapons and Armor: A +2 What, Sir? (Part 2 of 2)

As noted last week here on the Kobold Quarterly blog, we’re continuing to look at an interesting option for presenting weapons and armor in your game. If you missed the first installment of this series, you can read the first part here. The following keywords are designed to substitute the numeric bonuses applied to armor, shields, and bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing weapons. Using these keywords breaks away a layer of metagame...

Weapons and Armor: A +2 What, Sir? (Part 1 of 2)

A fighter walks into a shop. “Gimme a +2 sword.” The shopkeeper nods. “Two swords coming right up.” “Not two swords,” the fighter says. “One sword. +2.” “Three swords, sir?” the shopkeeper asks. “I want a +2 sword,” the fighter repeats, slowly and deliberately. “Just one sword, but +2.” Clutching his patience, the shopkeeper raises an eyebrow. “+2 what, sir?” In chess, saying a piece is killed or captured and then removing it from the board...

Real Steel: VIDEO! Moon Hammer

Okay, okay, I promised the Danish axe next. Sorry it didn’t work out — we will do the axe real soon. I think you’re gonna like this one! Sam and I had fun making both the moon hammer and the video. So, How Do You Make a Moon Hammer? It’s really simple. I took a 3” long piece of 1.125” inside diameter mild steel structural pipe with 0.1875” thick walls and MIG welded a 3.25” forged mild steel ball to it. I then drove a 24” length of 1.125”...

Real Steel: VIDEO! Tetsu No Bo

Remember the tetsubo? Remember asking for some video of stuff getting cut and smashed? Good! Check this video out: What else do you want to see? We can do videos on the subjects of previous written Real Steel articles, or we can do something completely new. Tell us what you want to see! If we like the idea and it’s practical, we may just give it a try. What video is next? I’m thinking something “edgy.” As always, feel free to axe questions…...

Real Steel: War Club

The war club, in the form of a stick, was probably the first or second weapon ever used by human beings—a rock also being on that early list. Although a stout hardwood branch can get the job done, many cultures have improved both the function and appearance of the humble bludgeon. Native Americans have given us a number of designs, ranging from all wood with a large heavy knob, to a rawhide wrapped stone on a wooden handle. The Celts gave us...

Real Steel: Yakuza Razor

One of the many cool things about bladesmithing is that if you come up with a new design or even a twist on an older one, you get to name it. While recurves are nothing new—and even Japanese recurves have been done many ways—the overall pattern of this knife, to my knowledge, has never been done before. Planning… or Lack Thereof Sometimes, as with this knife, I start forging without having anything particular in mind. Part of the creative...

Real Steel: The Spear

At least one version of the spear is found at some point in the history of every human culture. In its simpler forms, it is easy to make, easy to learn relative to other weapons, and deadly. Early versions were a simple sharpened stick. The first improvement was fire hardening the point. Later versions had bone or antler tips, followed by flint, copper, bronze, iron, and finally steel—the metals not necessarily in that order and dependent on...

Historical Steel: Dialing in the Range

Beyond the overlooked polearms and famous straight, thrusting, and curved swords lies a major category of weapons that just as importantly deserves some mention—ranged projectile weapons. From the nameless men-at-arms shooting crossbows from castle crenellations to green-suited, do-gooding outlaws with their longbows to the swashbuckling musketeer, each has their unique place in the annals of fantasy fiction. And before anyone stomps off...

Real Steel: The Kwaiken

The kwaiken is like a dagger. It’s a type of small tanto, historically carried by both men and women of the samurai class. As with the tetsu no bo (kanabo), I’m having a hard time finding a reliable translation. Kwaiken literally translates to “chest knife” or “bosom knife,” but whether or not the literal translation carries the intended meaning isn’t clear to me just yet. Because it was carried in the obi, and the obi (especially on a woman)...

Historical Steel: Back to the Power Curve

While the origins of the sword are clear, the history of single-edged blades is a bit murkier. Some such blades, however, have become iconic in Western history in their own right: the pirate’s cutlass, the scimitar of the Middle East, and the cavalryman’s saber. Others have failed to catch the limelight of history. Back to the Future Curved blades and single-edged swords were independently invented and reinvented across history. The Egyptian...

Death Bug Contest Winner: Spider Dagger

And the winner of the Real Steel Death Bug Contest is… Sam Hing and his spider dagger. We had many great entries but only one could be winner. Todd Gdula, Wolfgang Baur, and myself had a tough choice, but the final decision was unanimous: the spider dagger won the day. Congratulations, Sam! —Scott Gable __ This dagger bears a gleaming blade and a multitude of metallic legs. A single multifaceted gem is inset into the blade, gleaming like an...


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