December 6, 2012

Hari Ragat: Swords

[Edit: I mistakenly used an image not for public use in this post, so I've just replaced it with one of my own.]

The Vijadesans have many unique forms of swords, each with its own method of use. These are divided between the real fighting blades that an Orang Dakila should own, and the working blades that commoners normally wear to their fields and bring to war because they don’t have any other swords.

Fighting Blades

There are three classic blade designs for use in fighting: the kris, the kampilan, and the barong. Each has its own method of use, leading the martial arts masters, guro, to devise distinctive Secrets for each.
The kris is a short sword with a blade about 20” long and a curving hilt; it is adapted mainly for thrusting, but can also cut. It exists in two varieties, the kalis siko which has the famous wavy blade, and the kalis tulid, which has a wider, straight blade, somewhat resembling a Roman gladius. The kalis siko is thought to be specially significant to spirits, and so is the weapon most often found to be enchanted. Both variants of kris are usually very highly decorated, as they are the prefered weapon of the rich and noble-born..
The kampilan is a broadsword, sometimes made for both one- and two-handed use, and has the longest blade of any Vijadesan weapon, from 30” up to 40” long. The kampilan is considered the weapon of the serious fighter, and is often found among dedicated battle champions and the bodyguards of rajahs and datus.
The barong has a very short leaf-shaped blade, sometimes no more than 14” long; it is a very powerful slashing weapon that can be used at closer quarters than any other blade. Because of its compactness it is often favored by corsairs, who have developed an up-close-and-personal fighting style that turns the barong’s short reach into an asset instead of a liability.

Working Blades

Long, heavy knives are commonly carried by all Orang Malaya and trusted slaves for use in the fields and jungle. All are sturdier in design than the fighting blades, but usually forged of softer steel that doesn’t hold an edge as long.
The word bolo in the game is a generic term for any kind of long working knife such as a farmer or forester might carry every day. There are many varieties and forms – the tabak or gulok, short with wide, leaf-shaped or falchion-like blades wider toward the tip; the itak, which has a thick rectangular tip and no point; the cutlass-like sansibar; the talibon and ginunting, slightly incurved and slim; or the dahon-palay, with an elongated, pointed leaf shape like a blade of rice.
This two-handed weapon has a short, heavy, forward-curving blade on a long handle. It is used like an axe, plain types being used to cut wood and jungle vines. It is also used as an executioner’s beheading weapon.


Imported Blades

Some Vijadesans have acquired swords made elsewhere, as gifts, souvenirs from trading expeditions, or as war trophies. Possessing one of these is a status symbol, but no guro so far has developed Secrets usable with them.
This curved, single-edged sword is made and used by the warrior clans of the Lu Tzu kingdom, and numbers of them have found their way into the hands of warriors in the northern Janggalan states. It can be used one- or two-handed.
This curved, broad-bladed Tien Xia sword is widest about a third of the way from the point. It is a common soldier’s sword, and so usually found as a war trophy from battles with wako pirates.
This long, straight, double-edged sword is the weapon of the Tien Xia gentleman. Quite a few fine jian have been given as gifts to the rajahs and nobles of Penjan by Tien Xia merchants, and a massive two-handed jian with a gold-encrusted ivory hilt and ebony sheath inlaid with pearls is part of the Pahala Sina rajahs’ royal regalia. Jian come in one-handed and two-handed forms.
This long, heavy curved Mahanagaran sword has a disk-like guard and pommel. They are often souvenirs brought home by traders and corsairs who have ranged all the way to Mahanagara. They are made for one-handed use only.
This long, straight, double-edged sword from Mahanagara is widest at the tip, and hilted like a tulwar, but with a tusk-like extension of the pommel so it can be used two-handed when desired. Normally used by officers and nobles, it is very rare for a Vijadesan to acquire one.


  1. You got your Philippine Blades image above from this link.

    It is for sale. What you did is illegal.

  2. My apologies! I'll replace the photo.


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