No one tore the ground with ploughshares
or parcelled out the land
or swept the sea with dipping oars -
the shore was the world’s end.
Clever human nature, victim of your inventions,
why cordon cities with towered walls?
Why arm for war?
Ovid, Amores, Book 3
I am endlessly fascinated by this ingeniously destructive thing we do. The manifestations in material culture of our inherited aggressive territoriality are some of the most gorgeous and dire and cunning tools in existence.
I love early gunpowder weapons. I think D&D deserves handgonnes and arquebuses not just because they correspond historically to the period when polearms and plate armour and two-handed swords were prevalent but because they were all about the roar and the smoke and the terrible accuracy and disastrous backfiring, and in situations where one doesn't have a hundred other Harquebusiers all shooting together the likelihood of hitting anything is small.
Some handgonnes also have the issue of making you look right twerpy, what with their being small and fiddly. This bloke doesn't look so dangerous with his little tube on a stick and his little wick.
|Until his shot punches right through your expensive armour|
Henry the Eighth, renowned fuckwit, famously had a device made that combined three handgonne barrels into the head of a morning star. Then he'd just go wandering around with it, apparently. It goes by the name of Henry VIII's Walking Staff. I'm not sure he got the whole clever concealed weapon bit properly because if I saw a hulking great bloke pointing this thing at me and messing about with a burning wick I'd suspect something was up.
It is, however, a thing of beauty and ingenuity, allowing precisely the sort of combination of functions I'd like to have in a tool I was using to clear out demon-infested catacombs. It was not the only such combo-weapon, there is actually a bunch of 'em as I shall demonstrate.
|Combination axe/flintlock pistol with lovely armour piercing spike|
|Somewhat ornate flintlock pistol/flanged mace|
|Flintlock pistol/nice choppy axe|
|German hunting knife/wheel-lock pistol with etched calendar on blade|
|Indian katar (punch dagger) with two flintlock pistols. Imagine what kind of crazy badass would use this monstrosity. It's beautiful.|
|If I had to go into a dark monster-hole with 16th century technology I'd want one of these|
|I don't know for sure, but it looks like this dagger can shoot its end off. Preferably after you've stabbed. Edit: It's a removable point and the pistol's inside.|
|What the fuck kind of brigands did they have in them days?|
|This looks Indian too, wheel-lock/axe|
|Another, very pretty eh?|
|This last is a matchlock gun/axe combination, a bit more primitive|