One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
— Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carrol
The Vorpal Sword is a weapon mentioned in the poem "Jabberwocky", found in Lewis Carrol's book Through the Looking-Glass. The poem describes a boy going off to slay a fearsome monster and is full of invented words of unknown meaning. When Alice read the poem herself, the best she could make out was that "SOMEBODY killed SOMETHING: that's clear, at any rate—"
In Dungeons & Dragons, a Vorpal Sword is a magical sword of extreme sharpness capable of easily decapitating a foe. Under some interpretations, a Vorpal Sword is akin to a lightsaber. By extention, the word "vorpal" has been used as an adjective to describe a magical and extemely deadly weapon; (e.g. "vorpal frisbee", "vorpal sledgehammer", "vorpal bunny", etc.)
Also, as Harry Dresden discovered, if you don't have a vorpal sword to hand, the right kind of chocolate bar can still provide you with a Snickers-snack.
Game and Story Use
- Use of the term "vorpal" as an adjective is likely to detract from the seriousness of the game, particularly if you apply it to a non-bladed weapon.
- Still, it's a perfectly good word; and quite appropriate in a classic Gygaxian Dungeon Crawl.
- Vorpal weapons are extremely powerful and ought to be the objects of quests, rather than something you can buy of the rack at Major Carnage's House of Armaments.