Melee Weapons
5 Votes


Hits: 7722
Comments: 12
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.7
Condition: Normal
ID: 1659


January 17, 2007, 2:42 pm

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Monk's Spade


In the north west provinces, the locals used an odd design for their shovels. The blade part is a flat 12” (30 cm) cast iron half circle with a small extension in the back to facilitate mounting on the handles. Like many farming items, they were adapted to be used as weapons by those who had them and had no others.

Full Item Description
A monk’s spear is a more martial version of this basic farm tool. The monks, always wary of attacks from the local governments, barbarians, or even bandits, might of even used these spades (or ones like them) as actual farm tools. However, most of these spades are really weapons. The head is still cast iron, with a decorated brass fitting added onto extension to facilitate more secure fastening. The curved edge is extremely sharp. What would of been the straight side of the half circle is curved to allow for hooking and cuffing with the weapon. The shaft is a good six and a half feet long.  The back end of the weapon has a crescent blade with brass decorative mounting. The entire weapon weighs about 35 lbs (15 Kgs). It requires a good deal of strength, stamina, and speed to wield this weapon properly. However its reach and its mass can make it quite effective.

The Monks are not supposed to be armed. The Government has always seen the Monk’s views of equality of all souls as a threat to the tiered system. That plus their use of martial arts and yoga always made the military nervous. The spade, being both a weapon and a tool, allow the Monks to protect themselves and dig.

Magic/Cursed Properties
None. This is a perfectly normal weapon.

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Comments ( 12 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Mourngrymn
November 18, 2005, 9:28
Having studied weapons myself and have had actual hands on experience with a lot of the traditional farming tools turned weapons, this is a great item.

Weapons I have trained with, boar oar, horse stirrup to name the oddest ones. I like stuff like this. Its great.
Voted Murometz
October 19, 2006, 22:52
yep, I've always liked this one too Cap.

Threw the Monk's Spade a link in 30 Tomes Moon, but as you may know, anything with an apostrophe in the name, doesnt work as a link. So I had to put the ####..yech, not as aesthetically pleasing.

Oh And I am pretty sure I've voted on this before!
Voted Wulfhere
October 20, 2006, 2:11
Not bad! An interesting folk weapon, but there's just one detail that I couldn't help commenting on...

35 pounds! Perhaps a hero of legend could haul around such a weapon, but as a normal weapon? Whew! Those monks had better have an excellent workout regimen!

8 to 10 pounds would be more realistic.
December 8, 2006, 11:50
I know. It seems bizzare, but I have found three different sources that have all confirmed the use of an iron handle and the weight (30 lbs in one case).

Perhaps the iron is used for training and the wooden ones used for everyday user? Nothing is mentioned in my research, but I will keep looking.
December 9, 2006, 1:00
I've seen some sources as well, but I doubt their veracity. Perhaps they are exaggerated, or perhaps they are not translated well.
December 19, 2007, 21:30
I'll settle the debate! I have decided they will weigh 21 lbs in my world, not an ounce more! :)

I like this thing! Love items like these in general.
Voted Cheka Man
December 19, 2007, 22:00
Sorry for not voting on this earlier.
December 21, 2007, 16:32
Okay. I did some research on this a while ago, and of course promptly forgot to post any of this.

The story I associated with my piece seems to be one of the "accepted" reasons for the piece, yet upon review, historically, the reason it existed was not this one.

The Monk Spade is a weapon associated with Buddhist monks and those of the Northern Shaolin Sect. While used as a weapon by a travelling monk, it was also used for ceremonial and symbolic purposes. One of the stated uses was for a travelling monk to give a proper burial to anyone they found dead on the road. They also used it for other ritual funuary purposes. The tool became "standard travelling gear" for any Buddhist monk travelling in China for a time, even if they were not martially trained.

The basic idea actually predates The Great Temple.

There are pieces made entirely of bronze (shaft and heads) which weigh our 35 lbs in Chinese museums. Like the Green Dragon Crescent Moon Swords, but the halberd versions, they are weapons of "historical mythology", saying men of greath strength weilded them. There are other pieces which use metal reinforced wood, plus a metal head (bronze/ iron/ steel). These run in the 15-20 lbs/ 7-10 Kgs. Modern ones, which are made more for show than damage and available from many martial arts supply houses, run from 2 to 5 Kgs depending on the manufacturer.

Adapt them as you will. They are still very cool items.
December 22, 2007, 3:37
"One of the stated uses was for a travelling monk to give a proper burial to anyone they found dead on the road."

When do you see something like that in the writeup of a weapon? (Slices, dices, +1 to quark maneuver, used by monks.) That sentence alone adds 5 kg/10 lbs color to a campaign and a character class.
Barbarian Horde
December 22, 2007, 14:05
...they are weapons of "historical mythology", saying men of greath strength weilded them

Aye! These items fit perfectly in the world of the bogatyrs, peasant heroes, and monks of the Russian steppes fables. If your game happens to lean in that direction ;)

December 24, 2007, 1:56
Reality is always stranger than fiction. It is one of those odd little details that would take us quite a bit of time and creative working through to come up with. Still, adapting reality elements to games creates things sooo odd that you have to edit them out because they are often sooo random or off nobody would believe them.
Voted valadaar
April 16, 2014, 10:18
This is a good bit of detail. Very cool.

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       By: Dozus

Medieval Britons didn't write contracts. Instead, men making agreements would clap their knives onto an altar and recite the agreement three times to seal a deal. Even after the Normans introduced written contracts, British nobles would wrap the parchment around a knife to authenticate it.

Ideas  ( Society/ Organization ) | July 27, 2006 | View | UpVote 2xp

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