Macuahuitl
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Basic Information

Sometimes known as the "Aztec sword", the macuahuitl1 was a flat wooden club, roughly sword-shaped with blades of obsidian set into the edges to improve its cutting power. It was a common weapon amongst the forces fighting the Spanish invasion of South America (and, indeed, amongst their allies) and was attested as being capable of cutting a horse's neck so that the head 'hung by the skin' and inflicting severe wounds on the rider.
Whilst reasonably effective against unarmoured targets the weapon loses out to a steel sword on almost all counts, requiring more time and space to swing, lacking a stabbing point and suffering from a lack of density and a fragile blade. It appears that they faired very badly indeed against the steel armour of the conquistadors.

Historical sources note a typical macuahuitl as being 3-4' long … and a two handed version 'as tall as a man'. For reference, the same weapon without the obsidian blades is best known as a macana.

These weapons seem to have expired completely, with the last known authentic models being lost in a fire in 1884 although a variety of replicas are in existance.

The Leiomano and similar Pacific Islander weapons bladed with shark's teeth are a very close equivalent as a weapon.

Sources

Bibliography
1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • An obvious choice of weapon for non-metal using societies (or characters) in your campaign.
  • Good if knocking off the Aztecs as a fantasy counterpart culture.
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