Weapons of Gor

Submitted by Rollo the Axe


The Ax of Torvaldsland is perhaps one of the most fearful weapons on all of Gor. With its heavy iron head, usually with one wide cutting edge, and long stout handle, it is a most formidable weapon when wielded by an experienced Warrior of Torvaldsland. Able to sever a spine, or remove a head with a single stroke, and cut a man in half with two, it is a difficult weapon to face. When thrown, in practice, it seldom takes more than 5 to 6 strikes before splitting its target post, thus requiring a new target to be sought out. Against a human target it will split a skull, or bury deep in a chest or back. An instrument of massive destruction...

The Ax of the Alars is similar to the axe of Torvaldsland. Being only slightly smaller, long handled, with a weighty iron head, it is also a dangerous weapon to be reckoned with.

The Ax of the Kurii, being a gigantic weapon befitting such a beast, has a handle almost 8 feet long, with a massive blade over 2 feet in length.

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The Bola, a favorite weapon of the Wagon People, consisting of three long straps of leather approximately five feet in length, with a leather sack at the end of each, filled with a heavy, round metal weight, and then sewn closed. Swung high above the head, and then cast, it is used to hunt.... animals and human alike..... It is also used as a weapon of war. Once cast, it opens to the full ten foot length, spinning around until encountering its target, then swiftly wraps itself around it, to the feet to tangle and knock down, and immobilize, to the torso to wrap the arms to the body and render it defenseless, to the neck or head to either strangle, or crush the skull. It is also used by the Wagon People when wagering over the running of slaves. The slave runs from a circle, is given a head start of 15 beats of a kaiila's heart, and is then captured using the bola, bound, and returned to the circle, in the least amount of time.

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Crossbows, used throughout Gor, by both mounted and unmounted personnel, provide a powerful missile weapon that requires less skill than does the conventional bow and arrow; and yet fulfils the compact size needed to be used from the back of tarn, kaiila, high tharlarion, or through narrow slits in defensive positions on walls, roof top, etc... Firing a quarrel (crossbow arrow) with considerable force, it is then re-cocked by using either a belt claw, windlass, or goats foot, so it is slower than the regular bow. It enjoys more acceptance generally in the cities than among the kaiila-riding Tribesmen, or Nomadic peoples, for its ability to be carried cocked and loaded, ready to fire quickly, instead of needing to be knocked and drawn before firing.

Horn Bows, so named because of the strips of bosk horn laminated to the wooden limbs, and held with glue and sinew. Much shorter than a regular bow, this short but powerful bow of a recurved shape is favored by the Wagon People and Tribesmen of the Tahari. Short enough to be used from the back of kaiila or tarn, but still powerful, it uses a shorter than normal arrow, so it enjoys a quicker draw and release time; and it gives its user a higher rate of fire than a crossbow, but is not as unwieldy as a full sized bow. For the Wagon People, a narrow rectangular lacquered quiver holding approx. 40 arrows is the normal companion for the Horn Bow.

Standard Bow, much the same as regular Earthen bow, made from wood, used in a slightly shorter form by the Red Savages, and in a lighter draw height, by Panther girls.Both effective weapons, but not nearly as powerful as the Crossbow, Horn Bow, or the Great, or Peasant Bow.

Great Bow, or Peasant Bow. While not commonly favored, or even accepted by most of the Warrior Caste, due mostly to the association with the Peasant caste's use of this weapon, its power is still only ignored by fools. Made from supple ka-la-na wood, and tipped with bosk horn, notched to hold the string made from hemp cord, whipped with silk. Its length is roughly equal to the height of a tall man, with a flat back, and half rounded belly, it is approx. one and a half inches wide and one and a quarter inches thick at the center, and tapers gradually to the ends. This Bow can be best described in Earthen terms as a very powerful English Long Bow. The most powerful of the Gorean Bows, it requires great strength to use, ergo, the common referral of it as the Peasants Bow. Many men, even some Warriors, are unable to draw and fire this bow effectively. Powerful enough that a skilled archer can fire as many as nine shafts into the air, before the first falls to ground again, at up to four hundred yards it will kill the huge bosk; at two hundred yards it will pin a man to a wall; at point blank range it can fire a shaft through a four inch beam. A skilled bowman, but not an exceptionable one, should be able to fire nineteen arrows per Ehn (around eighty seconds), and hit a man sized target at a range of two hundred and fifty yards. Because of its size (length) it is difficult, and impractical to use from the saddle of any beast, or within the confines of close quarters, and room to room fighting. This bow may be used with either sheaf, or flight arrows. The flight arrow being around forty inches in length, the sheaf arrow around 36 inches long. Both arrows would normally be piled, or tipped with metal points, and commonly fletched with feathers from the wing of the Vosk gull.

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The common knife is ubiquitous throughout Gor, and may be used for tasks as simple as pruning fruit and cleaning fish. It comes in a multitude of shapes and sizes

Daggers: By definition, a dagger is any double-edged knife, generally with a tapering blade. On Gor the term dagger runs the full gamut, from tiny Free Woman daggers concealed within robes of concealment and coated with Ost venom, for personal protection, to the well-balanced dagger used and thrown with great accuracy by many men. Generally, a dagger is more of a penetration, or stabbing knife, whereas the common single edged knife is for cutting, etc...

Hook Knife: The Hook knife of Ar, has a small, curved blade, thick and hooked at the end. It is often used with the sheath inplace for the sport of hook knife fighting. But is still an effective weapon when used by experienced hook knife fighter.

Knives: On Gor there are many different styles or types of knives. From the saxe knife of Torvaldsland, the curved knife of the Tahari, to the flint knives of the Red Savages. Knives come in many varied sizes, styles, and uses, even to knives made from wood and used for special jobs such as the turf knife of the Red Savages: a wide bladed wooden knife with a sawback used to cut grasses and turf. The choice of which knife a person carries may be an indication of where they come from or their background. Metal knives, and spear points are traded to the Red Savages, and are a regular trade item.

Quiva: The quiva of the Wagon People is perhaps one of the most mentioned knives of Gor. It is a double edged knife, about a foot in length, and while used as a general purpose knife, it is best known for its reputation as a missile weapon, being balanced perfectly for throwing. Carried on the saddle of the kaiila the traditional seven sheaths hold one quiva each for use by the rider, but single quiva are also carried on the person of warriors of the Wagon People . An accomplished warrior could throw a quiva and hit a thrown tospit from the air at forty feet, or hit a target around four inches wide at around one hundred feet.

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Kaiila Lances: The light lance used mostly from the back of the kaiila, but on occasion from tarn back, is made from tem trees, black in color, and flexible enough to bend almost double before breaking. It is most often fitted with a loose loop of bosk hide, then attached to the wrist, to prevent loose during combat. Being light and flexible this lance is used in swift, delicate, thrusts with much the same deft movements as a saber, and is seldom thrown as a spear would be. It is also carried in the hand loose, not placing the butt of it in a socket on the saddle, as is the High tharlarion lance. The lance of the Wagon People is steel tipped, while the lance of the Red Savages may be tipped with either a metal trade point around nine inches in length, or have a tip of blue flint, chipped, and sharpened.

Tharlarion Lances: A heavy long lance, carried by the riders of the large High tharlarion. It is used as much as a shock, or battering ram style weapon, as it is a lance to thrust, or stab. Fitted most often with a socket on the saddle of the tharlarion, it is thus that the saddle, and tharlarion bear the brunt of the shock on impact, and makes the heavier weight easier to handle.

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Many different types of spears appear all over Gor. The traditional spear of the warriors is around seven feet long, with a heavy, stout shaft, tipped with a tapering head made of bronze, around eighteen inches long. When cast by a warrior at close range, it will penetrate up to a foot deep into solid wood, or pierce a shield. Other types of spears are the shorter, lighter spears used by Panther girls, and Talunas, the spears, and harpoons used by the Red Hunters of the North, the short, long bladed stabbing spears of the Askaris of Schendi, and the Black Kingdoms, to the very long pikes used as defenses from tharlarion cavalry. So a spear may be many things to different persons on Gor.

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Swords on Gor are many, and varied. Here follows a few of the examples

Gorean short sword: This is perhaps the most common, and best known sword on all or Gor. It is a short, one handed, double edged, wide bladed sword, thick, and only slightly tapering at the end, with hardly any crossguard. The best way for any person to envision this sword is to look at the Roman gladius. A strong serviceable weapon, it is the standard by which other swords of Gor are compared to. Among the Alars this style of sword is called a sacramasax.

Long sword of the North: This sword is used by those of Torvaldsland. Around half again as long as the Gorean short sword, it also is a one handed sword, double edged, with a blade that is wide at the base, tapers slightly for most of its length, then tapers more at the tip. With a slightly larger crossguard than the Gorean short sword. Its longer length, coupled with the generally larger size and reach of the large men of Torvaldsland makes it a formidable weapon.

Alar sword: The sword of the Alars is almost as long as the long sword of Torvaldsland, has a wide double edged blade, not quite as tapered as the long sword of the North.

The Scimitar: The scimitar is used in the Tahari by all the tribesmen. With its gracefully curved blade and single cutting edge it is longer than the short sword, yet shorter than the long sword. With its lighter weight and curve, it is different to use than other swords, so requires training generally by those used to the swords of the northern cities before it can be effectively used to full advantage. A proper scimitar is most often kept sharp enough to slice a piece of silk dropped on the blade. Considered perhaps Gor's most elegant sword, it is used with style, and exactness, and not simply swung with force to achieve its desired effect.

Other swords are mentioned in the books. One such is a spatha, another roman style sword, longer and narrower than the gladius, used from kaiila or tharlarion back. Surprisingly, the saber never gained favor, or wide spread used on Gor. The scimitar in the Tahari, and the lance of the Wagon People being used in its place instead.

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The trident is an example of a weapon that began as more of a tool than a weapon, used by those of the coastal regions, and islands, it consists of an average length spear shaft, with a three pronged point, used for spearing fish. Normally combined with a casting net, also used for fishing, the two together are used to ensnare an opponent, than stab with the trident. As stated, this would be a regional weapon, and the use of it would indicate experience as a fisherman.

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Whip Knife

This weapon originated in Port Kar, and as one might think of a weapon created in the city known as the Scourge of Thassa, it is particularly vicious. Razor sharp blades and bits of steel are attached to the ends of leather straps to make a whip which can quickly flay an opponent open. The bands of the whip can be used to entangle arms or legs of an opponent, while the blades of the whip knife fulfill their obvious function. It does require practice to gain proficiency with this weapon though; and it is rarely found in a Warrior's arsenal.

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Body armor, on Gor, does not exist. It is not used, mainly because it is deemed cowardly by Warriors to do so. Additionally, the Gorean Warrior relies upon speed and combat skill for protection rather than bulky armor. Some minor pieces of arm protections or shin protection are mentioned in several books, often in combat for entertainment such as combat in front of crowds in arenas, but never full chest, back, or leg armour. Armor is quite simply NOT Gorean.

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Common Warrior Helmet: The most common helmet on Gor would be just that, The Common Warriors Helmet. It is a full length helmet, covering the face, ears, and upper neck. Curved, and made from bronze or iron, with a "Y" shaped opening in front for the eyes, and nose it often has a crest plate on top which can be bare; or it may have a comb, or bristled tail. This helmet would best be compared to the ancient Greek helmet from the Homeric period.

Northern Helmet: The helmet of the North is conical in shape, made of iron with steel bands crossing over the top and around the rim; and has a nose-guard, sometimes stationary, and sometimes sliding up out of the way when not in use. Usually attached to the neck and sides are hangings of linked metal rings, what would be called chain mail, to protect the side and back of the neck. Some Northern helmets even had the horns of bosk attached for the fierce appearance they gave.

Helmet of the Wagon People: Helmets of the Wagon People were made of iron, conical shaped, rimmed with fur, and had the linked steel rings in front with holes open for sight, and often had a scarf wrapped around the neck to keep out the dust.

Captain's Helmet: A sign of rank in Port Kar, and not really designed as a piece of protective equipment, this helmet is carved from wood, and bears a crest of sleen fur.

It should be noted that all of the above helmets would have leather chin straps to keep them held on the head. Also, they would have rolls of padded leather inside to act as cushioning for the helmet against the warrior's head.

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Common Warrior Shield: The common shield of the warrior is circular in shape, made of over-lapping layers of hardened leather, bounded or edged with a hoop of brass, and riveted together. It would have a double set of loops or slings of leather to hold it, usually on the left arm. Normally it is painted brightly to identify the carrier, and with some device to identify to bearer's city.

Shield of the North: This shield is similar to the common shield, but is slightly larger and made from wood, although still rimmed with brass or iron. It is carried many times fixed to the side of the serpent ships of the North to protect the rowers at their benches.

Turian Shield: The Turian shield is similar to the above shields, but differs in that it is oval in shape, and usually embossed with metal decorations.

Shield of the Wagon People: Much smaller than its counterparts, sometimes only a few inches across, the shield used by the Wagon Peoples is made from layered hardened bosk hide. This smaller shield is closer in description to the Scottish targe, small, maneuverable, and less cumbersome than the larger shields.

Shield of the Askaris: The shields of the Schendi Askaris are long, longer still that the Turian shield, and are basically oval in shape, tapering at each end. They are made from hardened leather.

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