Close Combat Weapons

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.” - Miyamoto Musashi, the Book of Five Rings

Hand to Hand Combat

The Industrial Revolution brought with it many changes, not least among which was a dramatic decline in the use of traditional hand to hand combat weaponry. Guns had of course existed for quite some time, and many of the technologies that enabled the prominence of firearms had been invented several centuries prior to industrialization. But mass production brought gun manufacturing to a whole new level, and the United States armory at Springfield, Massachusetts, totally revolutionized the rifle, so much that by the time World War I hit, firearms were the primary tool of war, with swords, spears, maces fallen to the wayside.

Some bold men and women reject this modernistic approach to violence. There is no honor in killing a man you cannot touch, some might say. Others might think only of the pounding red bloodlust in their brain which can only be satiated by feeling the warm life drain from a fresh kill. Still others might prefer the sense of power and control that comes with exceptional skill at hand to hand combat.

Whatever their reasons, these people keep alive a tradition stretching back thousands of years. This page contains records of the wide variety of weaponry available to the melee fighter, along with some brief description of the cultural relevance of each weapon.

The sword is perhaps the most iconic melee weapon in existence. Traditionally, swords were a tool of the elite due to the expense of forging them, and weapons such as spears and clubs were far more common. Yet ask someone to tell you about the tools of war in Japan and the katana will inevitably be at the top of the list.

Swords and knives are elegant, graceful weapons, well designed for both warfare and personal combat. Many a High Roller has been a swordsman, but it is never a cliched choice.

The primary difference between the Western and Eastern sword traditions is in the number of sharp sides on the blade. With the notable exception of the Chinese jian, the vast majority of swords from Asia have only a single sharp edge, with the occasional small false edge on the other side near the tip of the sword. The West did see a fair number of single-edged weapons - most notably the cutlass, sabre, and scimitar - but the majority of their swords, and all of their two-handed swords, have two sharp edges on the blade; the ubiquitous longsword is a classic example of this type of weapon.

The following lists of weapons are classed according to three factors: the number of edges on the blade, the number of hands needed to wield the weapon, and the size/shape of the weapon. Weapons within each class will use the stats listed below:

Weapon Grip Blade Size/Shape Difficulty Damage Concealability Notes
Daggers 1 hand Stabbing < 12" blade, straight 7 Strength +1 P Armor Piercing
Combat Knife 1 hand 1 or 2 edge < 12" blade, straight or curved 6 Strength +1 P
Machetes 1 hand 1 edge approx. 1 to 2 ft blade, slightly curved 6 Strength +2 J
Short Swords 1 hand 2 edge approx. 1 to 2 ft blade, straight 6 Strength +2 J
Sabres 1 hand 1 edge approx. 2 to 3 ft blade, curved 6 Strength +3 T
Broadswords 1 hand 2 edges approx. 2 to 3 ft blade, straight 6 Strength +3 T
Rapiers 1 hand 2 edges approx. 3 to 4 ft blade, straight 7 Strength +4 T
Fencing Swords 1 hand Thrusting approx. 3 to 4 ft blade, semi-flexible 7 Strength +2 T -1 diff when used to parry
Long Sabres 2 hands 1 edge approx. 3 to 4 ft blade, curved 6 Strength +4 T
Horse-Slaying Swords 2 hands 1 edge > 4 ft blade, curved 7 Strength +5 N
Longswords 2 hands 2 edges approx. 3 to 4 ft blade, straight 6 Strength +4 T
Greatswords 2 hands 2 edges > 4 ft blade, straight 7 Strength +5 N
Tuck Swords 2 hands Thrusting approx. 4 ft blade, straight 7 Strength +3 T Armor Piercing

Western Tradition


  • Misericorde
  • Stiletto
  • Dirk, Sgian-dubh
  • Khanjali
  • Facon
  • Punal
  • Rondel dagger
  • Ear dagger
  • Bollock dagger
  • Swiss dagger
  • Cuchillos criollos
  • Hunting dagger

Combat Knife

  • Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife
  • Gerber Mark II
  • USMC Raider Stiletto
  • V-42 Stiletto
  • Trench knife
  • Bowie knife


  • Baselard
  • Cinquedea
  • Gladius
  • Hunting sword
  • Schweizerdegen
  • Xiphos
  • Qama, Cossack dagger, kinjal


  • Falchion
  • Briquet
  • Szabla
  • Karabela
  • Schweizersabel
  • Grosse Messer
  • Cutlass
  • Hanger


  • Arming sword
  • Basket-hilted sword
  • Katzbalger
  • Spatha
  • Basket-hilted Claymore
  • Knightly Sword
  • Mortuary Sword
  • Schiavona
  • War sword
  • Heavy cavalry sword
  • Gladius


  • Spada da lato
  • Side-sword
  • Esperanda ropera
  • Smallsword
  • Court Sword
  • Bilbo
  • Spadroon


  • Bastard sword
  • Espee batarde
  • Hand-and-a-half sword
  • Espadon
  • Langshwert
  • Grootzwaard
  • Spadone
  • Spada longa
  • Montante


  • Claymore, Claidheamh da laimh, Highlander sword
  • Zweihander, doppelhander
  • Lowland sword
  • Two-handed sword

Fencing Sword

  • Epee
  • Saber
  • Foil
  • Colichemarde

Tuck Sword

  • Estoc
  • Boar sword

Eastern Tradition


  • Japan
    • Kabutowari, Hachiwari
    • Kaiken
    • Tanto
    • Yoroidoshi
  • Southeast Asia
    • Wedong
    • Kris
    • Gunong, Punyal (Philippines)
  • India
    • Bich'hwa
    • Malappuram Kathi

Combat Knife

  • Butterfly Sword


  • Bolo knife
  • Pinuti
  • Barong
  • Talibong
  • Golok
  • Kukri


  • China
    • Zhibeidao
    • Liuyedao
    • Nandao
    • Piandao
    • Yanmaodao
    • Dadao
  • Japan
    • Wakizashi
    • Ninjato
    • Shinobi-gatana
  • Southeast Asia
    • Dha-shay
    • Kampilan
    • Krabi
    • Patag


  • China
    • Jian

Long Sabre

  • China
    • Changdao
    • Miaodao
    • Wodao
  • Japan
    • Katana
    • Tachi
    • Uchigatana

Horse-killer Sword

  • China
    • Zhanmadao
  • Japan
    • Zanbato
    • Odachi
    • Nagamaki
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