Lore of Legendary Chinese Spears
A collection of lores about legendary Chinese spears (as opposed to the weapons themselves) from actual history and folklore (no. 5 in my Chinse lore Codex)
The 10 Greatest Chinese Spears
Pictures of all the horses can be seen here . Listing over there is in reverse order to this submission here
No. 10: Reed Leaf Spear (Lu Ye Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: About four and a third metres long, it is made from a type of patterned steel known as bing tie (made through polishing it first and then soaking in within a corrosive liquid). The spearhead is thin like that of reed leaves, hence its name. Moreover, the spearhead is made from an alloy of steel and silver, making it strong enough to pierce strong armour.
Lore: It is the weapon of Yang Yan Zhao (also known as Yang Liu Lang, a nickname given to him by the Liang who believed that the constellation Sirius which they called Liu Lang Xin or the Star of Liu Lang is their bane and that Yang Yan Zhao is the incarnation of this star. But since it is common of that era for males to be named by birth order, the populace mistakenly thought this nickname came from him being sixth in birth order among his brothers), a famous general who fought against the Liang (yet another set of nomad invaders) in the Northern Song dynasty. In actual fact, he came from an entire family of generals and he was the only one out of seven siblings that survived the war.
No. 9: Green Sunken Spear (Luu Chen Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: Three and two-third of a metre long and weighting sixty eight Chinese pounds (about 40.5kg). It is a spear name that often appeared in Chinese poetry and have three different meanings: 1) Luu Chen is actually the name of a type of bamboo meaning it is a spear made from this particular type of bamboo; 2) a spear decorated with green ornaments; 3) a spear crafted from good steel.
Lore: It is the weapon of Jiang Wei, a famous general of the Shu Kingdom of the Period of the Three Kingdoms. In the book the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he was originally subordinate to Cao Cao but was Â‘poached' by Zhu Ge Liang who appreciated his talents and it was said that Zhu Ge Liang has his eyes on Jiang Wei as the successor to himself.
No. 8: Five Tiger Broken Soul Spear (Wu Hu Duan Hun Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: Four metres long and made from bing tie
Lore: It is the family heirloom of Luo Cheng, a fictional character ranked the seventh among sixteen/eighteen outstanding warriors in various novels written about heroes cropping up within the period spanning the overthrowing of the Sui dynasty and the start of the Tang dynasty.
No. 7: Divine Might Fiery Water Spear (Shen Wei Lie Shui Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: The shaft of this spear is three metres long and the spearhead is forty three and a third centimetres long, of which 10cm is the actual blade. Made from good steel mixed with gold, this spear is very sharp.
Lore: It is wielded by Qi Ji Guang, a famous general in the Ming Dynasty who had triumphed over the Japanese pirates that were menacing China at the time.
No. 6: Tiger Headed Clear Gold Spear (Hu Tou Zhan Jin Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: A little shorter than 3.8m, its shaft is made a strong steel alloy. Its spearhead is golden and shaped like the head of a tiger with the blade protruding out of the mouth of the tiger.
Lore: Said to be the weapon of a few famous figures including Ma Zhao (one of the five Tiger Generals of the Shu Kingdom of the Period of the Three Kingdoms), Gao Chong (fictional character that is number one ferocious warrior in the novel starring Yue Fei, a patriotic general instrumental in fighting against the Jurchen who had seized Northern China at that time but was recalled by the Emperor and killed upon advice from a corrupt official) and Chang Yu Chun (one of the main generals who were instrumental in helping Zhu Yuan Zhang to found the Ming dynasty)
No. 5: Trickling Fountain Spear (Li Quan Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: Three metres long, it has a golden shaft and a golden spearhead shaped like a dragon with a silver blade protruding out of the dragon's mouth
Lore: It is the weapon of Yue Fei, the patriotic general described in the previous entry. In one of the novels written about him, it was said that this spear was attained by Yue Fei in the following way: He went behind a monastery and found a fountain on the mid-level of a mountain. Besides this fountain, there was a stone with the words 'Li Quan Qi Ping' (meaning Trickling Fountain Extraordinary Item) written down on it. In particular, the words looked like they were written like Su Dong Po (original name Su Shi, a famous poet of the Song dynasty, one of the few most famous poets in Chinese history). Moreover, there was a cave just above this fountain and from within this cave, the head of a large serpent appeared. Its eyes shone bright and its mouth was dripping with saliva that dropped into the fountain. Presumably seeing something within the serpent's mouth and unhappy with the contamination of the fountain, Yue Fei picked up a large stone and threw it towards the serpent. It hit the serpent squarely on its head. Then there was a loud sound, a sudden arising of heavy fog and the serpent's eyes shone golden and then it opened up its large maw and Â‘pounced on' Yue Fei. Yue Fei nimbly evaded the serpent's body by moving to the side and caught it by its tail. This created a loud sound and when Yue Fei looked again, what he held in his hands was no longer a serpent but a golden spear with the words 'Li Quan Shen Mao' (Trickling Fountain Divine Spear/Lance) written on it. Furthermore, the fountain completely dried up.
No. 4: Plum Blossom Spear (Mei Hua Qiang)
Lore: It is wielded by Huo Qu Bing, a famous general in the Han Dynasty. When he was just 17, he already accompanied his maternal uncle Wei Qing (also a general and the one who raised him since he was a bastard son) on a campaign against the Xiang Nu, a group of Eurasian nomads who was a major menace for China at that time. His bravery was well known within the army, with him vanquishing five tribes (?) of the Xiang Nu within six days. He was made Guan Jun Hou (Lord/Marquis with the title of Guan Jun meaning Number 1 within the Army, modern term for Champion). It was said that the Xiang Nu lamented of their history of loss to Huo Qu Being, 'We lost Mt Qi Lian, making it hard to us to raise livestock; We lost MtYan Zhi, making our married women lose colour.' Yet, he died young at the age of twenty three. He did not marry throughout his life, saying 'Before the Xiang Nu are completely destroyed, there is no foundation for me to build a family', a quote that made him famous throughout history.
No. 3: Fire Dragon Spear (Huo Long Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: About three and a third metres longs, it is a red spear (part of the reason for its name). One sources says that the shaft is made from a hard and red wood actually called Red Wood in Chinese (expensive wood and main ingredient for wooden furniture in China, can make very sturdy furniture). Another says that it's made a metal alloy of copper and steel that is red in colour. In addition, the spearhead is actually in the shape of a Chinese dragon meandering upwards with the spear tip ending in the dragon's mouth such that it appears the spear can 'swallow clouds and spits out fog' (this is probably reinforced by Chinese folklore believing that dragons are responsible for rain so clouds and fog also becomes elements naturally associated with dragons)
Lore: The weapon of Su Hu, fictional character in the novel the Investiture of the Gods (one of the 4 Classics), father to Da Ji who is really a nine-tailed fox rather than a human, sent to lure Zhou Wang (King Zhou) to his destruction.
No. 2: Dragon Gallbladder Shining Silver Spear (Long Dan Liang Yin Qiang)
Lore: It is the heirloom of Zhou Yu, one of the 5 Tiger Generals of the Shu Kingdom of the Period of the Three Kingdoms. He was renowned for rescuing his liege's son amidst the Cao Cao's army (enemy army). Specifically, he is usually thus: a tall man in white armour throughout astride a white horse holding a sword in his left hand (the Indigo and Red Sword whom he raided off Cao Cao when he killed his sword bearer (also one of Cao Cao's relatives) and a silver spear (the Dragon Gallbladder Shining Silver Spear) in his right hand.
No. 1: The Conqueror Spear (Ba Wang Qiang)
Appearance and Construction: A little short of 4.57m in length, it weighs 81 Chinese pounds (a bit over 48kg). It is made from an alloy of good steel and gold and is therefore very shiny and eye-catching. The blade is very sharp and death will occur upon piercing. Moreover, because of its weight, those who were swept by the spear will certainly perish.
Lore: The weapon of Xiang Yu or Conqueror Xiang (sworn elder brother to founder of the Han dynasty but also his major competitor) who reputedly was born especially powerful compared to a normal person. It was said that in his youth, he was bad at both scholar learning and the art of swordsmanship and this greatly angered his youngest uncle Xiang Liang (potentially the one who raised him). Then Xiang Yu said, 'In terms of scholar learning, it is enough for me that I learn to recognise names. Fighting by sword only lets me conqueror one opponent at a time and is not worthy to learn. I want to learn to conquer ten thousand opponents at a time.' Consequently, Xiang Liang taught him the art of war and created the Conqueror Spear for him to leverage on his inborn power.
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? Responses (7)
I admit that I pushed this out purely so that I could level up....
I finally figured out what bothers me about these subs, Moon. You spend the majority of your time discussing the wielders of these spears (or the riders of the horses), rather than the weapons themselves. This could be a *fantastic* NPCs sub -- 30 Chinese Heroes/Generals, perhaps -- in which you describe the men (and women?) themselves, with a section for special items and equipment like these. The object, after all, is to create something that people can take away and use in their own fiction or games.
If you were going to do that, you would have to generalize things a bit. Be as detailed as you want in the appearance and equipment of the NPC (I loved the story about the serpent and the fountain, for example), but only sketch out the personality and backstory. Imagine introducing one of these guys into your games; what would you want to know? How should a GM play them?
If you do want to keep this focused on the items rather than those who wield them, you really need to give us more. Look at 7 and 8, for example. How would I put these into a game, and make them interesting? The history bits are nice, but they are probably either irrelevant to the current game (not general enough), or too obscure to be common knowledge, so my PCs would never get the backstory anyway.
Another approach would be to create a 'weapon origin stories' submission, with stuff like the serpent in the fountain. That story could be generalized to a sword, or a halberd, or any other pole-arm and still blow a player's mind. :)
Actually, as I was writing this sub up, I already noticed that it's somehow all about the wielders of the various spears rather than the spears themselves. But this really came about because this bunch of subs started off as a pure research and translation exercise. My source for all these subs is really Chinese Wiki and usually the lore always overshadows the actual item so I think that's why I named the whole Codex Chinese lore But I understand how people reading single entries would have different expectations. Since I'm still transitioning to becoming an actual player, my subs do tend to gloss over usability prospects in terms of incorporation into gaming. (And looking over the Codex just now, I did say one of the intentions for the Codex was to compile Chinse themed stuff that people could plug into their games so it appears I am falling short of announced intentions.) Again, a possible solution might be to add an embellishment scroll to this.
Ok I have to ask...
'We lost MtYan Zhi, making our married women lose colour.'
What does this mean? :)
Okay, I was still stuck in my Chinese mindset I guess, 'losing colour' usually refer to a diminishing in beauty but I think in this context it refers to the fact that they (the married women) lose prestige, power in terms of backup from birth family, that kind of thing. It's a very literal translation but whenever I come across archaic passages, usually that's the best I can do.
Being a fan of these subs by moon tarnishes my ability to vote on them but 4/5 for the names alone
Update: Decided to go the slacker route and update the category of this sub rather than doing own expansions.