Full Item Description
The Maul Shank is a short, hiltless one-and-a-half-edged weapon, wickedly curved and with handle and blade all one piece. The length of the blade varies between 4 and 8 inches and the handle is usually wrapped in cord to provide a better grip. The wrapping is intricately done, and differs subtly between different makers.
Many Maul Shank users engrave their blade with their name or their personal sigil, if they have one.
The materials used in the construction of a Maul Shank is usually impure, second-hand metal forged together under insufficient heat, giving the blade a damascine-like finish. It is traditionally worn horizontally on the belt at the small of the back, like a scramasax.
In the context of modern warfare, with breach-loading muskets and cannons, the Maul Shank is strictly a last-ditch back-up weapon, but also has significant symbolic value.
The Maul Shank was the traditional weapon of the gangs of the Old Maul, before the Great Fire scattered the few surviving people of the Old Blood like leaves in the wind. The Maul Rats, the counter-revolutionary Maul milita (and later official Regiment of Locastus) adopted the weapon to commemorate their origins.
When a new recruit joins the Maul Rats, he (or she; the Maul Rats is the only Regiment that recruits women) is given a probation period to prove himself, before he is given his Maul Shank and accepted as a full member.
Absolutely none; the weapon is a crudely made, ugly piece of equipment. The Maul rats, however, revere it as a holy symbol, and wear it with pride. It also serves to mark the wearer as affiliated with the Maul Rats, which can cause problems in interacting with members of the ruling classes of Locastus - The reputation of the Maul Rats is less than good.
The PC's are asked by representatives of the Maul Rats to locate and assassinate a renegade from their own ranks. To prove that the job is done, they have to bring back the target's Maul Shank.
The PC's are sent to an old battlefield to locate and dig out the Maul Shank of a former Maul Rat hero. To do this, they have to study the layout of the battlefield, to determine where the hero fell, and then dig him up. Once they have the prize, they have to defend it against the scavengers of the battlefield and grave robbers, who violently defend their turf.
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? Responses (12)-12
I was going to link it to Interesting Weapons- Non-Magic, but then I saw that you mention power-runes. What are they? Later on you say that they have no special abilities at all, so I'm a little confused.
...Otherwise they seem to be a nice addition to your expanding setting, solid explanations and dead-on. Sweet idea.
Ah, yes. The power runes was a late idea, and doesnt really fit the rest of the post, now that i read it in its entirety. Shoo, power runes, shoo....:-)
A good background 'piece'.
This is how things sort of work in the real world, wierd things become important.
I like it a great deal as it adds realism.
Now even if you don't use this item directly, and you probably wont', take the idea from it and adapt it to your own world.
This could be adapted to any world. It's a form of *gang colours* .
Short and sweet, and fitting with both the material presented, but could be adapted to work with pretty much any sort of low level low income thieves guild.
A simple weapon with much color attached, I like those.
Plus I have just learned that scramasax is an actual word! Now, where did I hear something like that again...
Plot hook: while searching the personal effects of a deceased citizen, presumably with a solid reputation, the PCs find a carefully preserved Maul Shank. Hmmm... how comes?
... Interesting. I do like the color it can add. The Pun, however, has me beating my face off the wall in despair.
Nice way to make magic from the mundane. I had similar rituals amongst shady characters in an all thieves Greyhawk campaign I ran for two years. A shiv would be stuck in a corner beam or post of a building at given areas of the street to summon a conclave of thieves, among other signs and symbols mixed with thieves cant. The most highly regarded (though not necessarily the best quality) shivs were made from nails pulled from beams in the nearby hill fort prison - where the assassin's guild recruited from. It was a great game, man, lasted two years solid. One player told me my style reminded him of teh Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories, which I had never read at that time. When I got around to those excellent tales, I saw my own campaign from a completely different perspective, really cool.
Anyway, nice little addition and a trip down memory lane. :)
A nice little mundane weapon with a good back story to hook it into the world and make it memorable. It could be interesting to have a characters buy one of these blades from a traveling merchant and then later on find themselves unwittingly treated as a Maul member or accused of killing one.
Nice gritty, down-and-dirty vibe here. I like it!
'the most highly regarded shivs were made from the nails pulled from the beams of a local hill fort prison--where the assassins guild recruited from'