Well, that was fun- serious business followed by a post from Nekochan! This week I get my amateur history buff on and talk weapon design.
The hero’s weapon is actually based on a zweihander- that is, an actual zweihander and isn’t just an anime-style BFS. The blade is just over four feet long, but only about an inch and a half wide, and at that size the blade almost looks delicate. It’s too long to draw from a sheath of course, so the hero just carries it over one shoulder like you would a polearm. The hilt sweeps upward slightly, and the grip is about ten inches long. The dtraw doll charm dangling off the pommel in Meline’s Halloween pic is accurate.
While I refer to Therese’s blade as a sabre in-game, it’s actually an Eastern European design referred to as a szabla. The blade is just over thirty inches and curves sharply back. The last five inches or so of the blade is double edged and thicker than the lower part, which adds weight to the tip. The grip, true to sabres, is for one hand and features a full hand guard. The hilt is decorated with a pair of feathered wings wrought in silver- the symbol of Therese’s order.
Yamamaya’s original axe, the flint axe, is really simple- literally a sharp chunk of flint about the size of a PS1 strapped to a five foot long shaft of ash wood. With the Orcish axe blade added in place of the flint, it more resembles an actual axe more, in the old bronze age style. That is, the blade doesn’t feature a beard at all- it’s literally a steel wedge about eight inches wide with a blade about six inches long. No subtlety or utility beyond just wrecking shit.
Elaiya’s guns are actually wheel-lock pistols, though I think in the game they are referred to as flintlocks. Similar to the case with Therese’s weapon, I went with the more widely-known term to give a better impression to the player. Due to magic, the guns actually work more like super-high-tech electronic guns- each charge and ball is held in series in the barrel, and the striking wheel is enchanted to touch off each charge in sequence so the weapon functions like a modern semiautomatic autoloader. Between battles, Elaiya loads each gun and winds the mechanism.
Of course, one function of adding the fairy dust to Elaiya’s powder is that her powder bag is self-replenishing, so her guns never run out. Magic is also probably the reason that A) the blacksmith is able to make depleted uranium balls, B) how the depleted uranium balls never run out and C) how Elaiya is able to carry a bunch of depleted uranium with her.
Kyrie’s wand is probably the simplest weapon in the whole team. What makes it interesting is the materials, which, of course, have to be all cool and magic-y. So her wand is a slightly tapered 16” rod of meteoric iron, about 1/2” across at the base. It’s polished so that the odd lines and striations of the meteoric metal stand out, and a grip is made by cross-winding a strip of Sphinx-skin leather around the lower five inches. Yeah, I know Sphinxes have humanoid bits, but let’s face it- the Harem Collector world is full of plenty of weird already. Just roll with it.
Meline’s weapon probably started life as some kind of walking stick or something she picked up at the market in the belief that an angel-powered magical girl should have a staff. Other than acting as a weak focusing tool, it probably wasn’t anything special- until you add the Channeler’s Orb you get from Larelle. Now topped with an actual purple magic crystal thingy, Meline’s able to more effectively channel mana for her prayers.
Some of you might be wondering how a magical doohickey gotten from Larelle (who uses magic spells) is able to help out Meline (who channels angelic power in response to her prayers). The answer is: shut up, because you’re making wizards look bad. Magic and prayers are clearly entirely two different things, and shouldn’t be compared even when they are suspiciously similar.
Doll’s weapon, like Elaiya’s, is going to be another one where I say “because magic” a lot. The first stage of Doll’s weapon isn’t actually a mace per se, but rather a cudgel- a simple piece of hardwood you beat people with, about 2′ long. With the addition of the studded skull, which is clearly magically reinforced and not going to just shatter on her first really solid hit, it actually has a legit striking surface. Doll isn’t particularly fearsome, but I think having this badass-looking, metal-inspired weapon makes for a good visual joke… whenever she actually gets official art.
It wasn’t planned that way though. The process went like this:
1: Finish the Zombie Bard and realize he needs to drop an upgrade.
2: Realize Doll is the only character at the time who really needs an upgrade.
3: Try to figure out what a zombie could drop that would upgrade a mace.
4: Make the Iron-Studded Skull and knock off early to play Arkham Asylum.
One of Larelle’s “things” about her character is that she’s actually a lot more robust than the other magic-user-types in the game, and one of the things I wanted her weapon choice to reflect was that she was prepared to throw down on occasion. Add in the sinister side of her personality, and I came up with the ritual knife.
The knife blade itself is a sharply angled spike of metal, like a rondel dagger, about 6” long and etched with runes. The hilt and the inlay of the fuller are inscribed with a brambles and skull design. Larelle probably dug it up out of that tomb she was in, and started using it because it looked cool to her Hot Topic sensibilities.
I really didn’t want Chimei to have a fan at first, obviously since she had the Simple Bow for a long time, but I eventually realized I wanted Felix to be unique in being a magic-user type with a normal weapon. All the other magic-users have weapons that buff their Magic as well as a small bonus to Attack, and I wanted Chimei to join the club. The problem is that Eastern magic traditions seem to use the same tools as Western magic and staves, wands, and daggers were all spoken for. I considered using paper wards for awhile, but came up with a fan because it’s a pain in the ass to think of upgrade items that would work with a stack of paper strips.
The fan right now looks like any other Japanese hand fan, bamboo wanes supporting a solid blue silk flappy surface bit (Wikipedia didn’t know the technical term for that part of a fan). It’s not actually constructed for use as a weapon, like tessen or gunsen, but in a binch Chimei can whack an enemy with it. BTW, Chimei’s first upgrade is going to be a priority for the next update.
Felix’s slingshot started out as a typical Bart Simpson/Dennis the Menace-style wooden slingshot, but goes to weird places pretty much right away. With the addition of the Mechanism Parts, it now has a long armguard on which rests the auto-winding mechanism for the band. Felix still have to load the bullets by hand, though- that’s why it’s only “semiautomatic”… for now.