Slashing Weapon
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Basic Information

Slashing or edged weapons cut things. They combine leverage and a sharp edge to cut into their targets.

Used on a living target they slice through tissue, severing bones and blood vessels creating obvious, immediate damage and incapacitating - if not killing - quickly. Against inanimate objects they are only as effective as their ability to slice bits of them off - which varies - soft targets can be cut up easily, whereas hard ones endanger the cutting edge on the blade and resist the stroke. That said the axe is - and is usually designed to be - highly effective in this role.

Edged weapons tend to be relatively expensive to manufacture - a long, sharp cutting edge requires good quality metal, well worked and anything else is a poor substitute. They are also easily defeated by armour - if they cannot cleave through the material of the armour they tend to lack the mass to deliver much impact damage.

An indicative list of edged weapons includes:

It should be noted that the scythe - occasionally depicted as being used as a slashing weapon in fantasy (and by The Grim Reaper and related characters) is not and never has been a viable weapon against anything much more sophisticated than grasses and small shrubs. Whilst they do have a large, sharp blade which is entirely capable of cutting someone, that blade is faced towards the user and mounted in such a way as to make it effectively impossible to use offensively. When a scythe was used as a weapon, it was done removing the blade, bending it through about ninety degrees and re-mounting it in line on a straight haft to form a weapon similar to a glaive.

The popular forms of improvised slashing weapon include meat cleavers (and related large chopping knives and butcher tools) and sickles (of which military versions have existed) and their related tools such as hay-knives, reaping hooks and fascine knives.


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