NOTES || Varieties of Weapons

World-building Notes

Varieties of Weapons

World-building notes on the concepts and role of divine weapons in DEITIES Project. This part expands on the variety of weapons used by deities, and a collection of common divine weapons they may wield.

All deities learn how to use weapons for their own self-defense, but many adopt a divine weapon and carry one on hand, summoning and storing them with magic as needed. […] Different divine weapons will channel magic in different ways, and the same weapon can use various methods to project magic, depending on the wielder’s skills and intent.

INDEX || WORLD-BUILDING NOTES


TABLE OF CONTENTS


VARIETIES OF DIVINE WEAPONS

Below is a collection of the common varieties of divine weapons and instruments available for deities to wield, with brief details on how the weapons can be used and how they best channel magic.

[NOTE: Many of these categories are based on weapons that were historically present in Ancient Egypt, but there are also some fictional variations to the use of certain weapons for combat and magic use, which remain relevant to DEITIES Project.]


[1] SHORT SWORDS

A common bladed weapon among deities, short swords are moderately-sized in blade length with a short handle, and often carried with sheaths or scabbards. Short swords are light enough to allow the wielder to use with one hand for extended combat. They are usually used as single weapons, and less commonly as a pair.

As divine weapons, magic is often channeled directly through the length of the blade. Some wielders can also use magic to vary the length of an individual blade to be shorter or longer, but the latter may require more effort or a two-handed grip to properly use.

[Ex: Common variations of short swords include the acinace, sickle sword, scimitar, and khopesh.]

A notable deity who wield the short sword as her signature divine weapon is Wenut. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Horus, Wepwawet, and Montu.

KHOPESH (EGYPTIAN SICKLE SWORDS)

The khopesh is a modified short sword with a crescent-shaped blade that remains a viable weapon choice for many deities, but requires more skill to effectively use than the simpler short sword. The khopesh can be used for slicing and cutting, with the added versatility of a sharpened, curved outer edge that can be used similarly to axes or scythes. The end of the blade is blunted — which can be effective for solid impacts — and either corner of the inner curve of the blade may be notched, in a way that can be used to hook the enemy’s clothing or weapons.

A notable deity who wields the khopesh as his signature divine weapon is Horus. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Set, Osiris (formerly), and Sekhmet.


[2] KNIVES AND DAGGERS

Both knives and daggers have smaller blades than short swords, but are considered a standard weapon; most deities learn how to wield knives early in their training, and some carry one or two knives on hand, both for self-defense and as a tool where necessary.

Daggers and knives are mainly used for piercing and stabbing, but can also be used as throwing weapons if combat from a distance is required. While effective as striking weapons, knives and daggers are not as well suited to guard or deflect opposing strikes or spells, except in very close combat.

[Ex: Common variations include standard knives, throwing knives, and daggers.]

Notable deities who wield knives and/or daggers as their signature divine weapon include Astarte and Pakhet. Other deities skilled with these weapons include Bastet, Anubis, Serqet, Wenut, and Bes.


[3] BATTLE AXES

Often in the form of a medium or long staff with a large, sharpened blade at the end of one side, deities who possess heightened physical strength and stamina may favor axes as their weapons. Battle axes are effective in swinging and slicing at enemies and can leave damaging strikes against their targets. They are also effective in halting and blocking attacks from other bladed weapons.

Axes with moderately-sized handles can be used with one hand, sometimes as a pair of double axes, or accompanying a more blunt weapon (see Trauma weapons, below). Axes with longer, staff-like handles necessitate both hands to properly use leverage and power, and require more time to recover after each strike.

[EX: Common variations of axes include the battle axe, executioner’s axe, and hand axe (often paired).]

Notable deities who wield the axe as their signature divine weapon include Sekhmet, Anat, and Shezmu. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Sobek.


[4] BOW & ARROW

A powerful mid- and long-ranged weapon, deities who excel at archery or prefer to rely on precision and distance make the best use of the bow and arrow, which can be crafted with magically-reinforced wood and string. The bows themselves can be used as striking weapons or as a guard when close combat is unavoidable. Ideally, however, bows are best used by sending arrows to strike targets from afar.

Arrows can be enhanced with magic to influence its path and distance travelled, or to apply a burst of magic once it hits its mark. Deities can also enhance quivers to produce a steady supply of arrows formed with magic energy, so long as the deity has the energy to summon new arrows.

[EX: Common variations of the bow and arrow include the recurve bow, reflex bow, longbow, and the (non-modern) crossbow.]

Notable deities who wield the bow and arrow as their signature divine weapon include Neith, Anuket, and Wepwawet. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Isis and Horus.


[5] TRAUMA WEAPONS

Trauma weapons are known to deal brutal blows through sheer force — either blunt or sharp in nature, or a combination of both, depending on the shape of their striking end. Much of their power stems from the weight concentrated near their striking end, but their effectiveness remains dependent on the wielder’s strength and use of momentum. Depending on their size, trauma weapons can be used as single weapons or in tandem with another weapon as a dual set.

Even without magic, these weapons can inflict heavy damage to opponents as well as against other weapons and armor, and many can also endure opposing spells and strikes from lighter weapons. Trauma weapons enhanced with magic can be used to clear away obstacles, and can furthermore be used to wear away at — or even pierce through — protective wards and barriers.

[EX: Common variations of trauma weapons include the mace, hammer, club, adze, and cudgel.]

Notable deities who wield trauma weapons as their signature divine weapon include Sobek (Spiked Cudgel) and Bes (Hammer). Other deities skilled with this weapon include Khnum and Shezmu.


[6] FLAILS AND CHAINED WEAPONS

Flails and chained weapons can be used in much the same way as trauma weapons in both combat and defense. Aside from depending on leverage from the handle, a flail can build momentum by spinning the reinforced chain link between the striking ends and the handle. The handle of a large flail can also be used similarly to other polearm weapons, and the weighted striking ends — traditionally up to 3, but the number may vary — can be blunt or sharp in shape.

Magic can be channeled and concentrated near the striking ends of flails to amplify their striking power, and a spinning flail can also help deflect opposing strikes and spells. Smaller flails are infrequently used as striking weapons, and instead used as a scepter to channel magic in tandem with the Crook (see Scepters, below).

A notable deity who wields the flail as his signature divine weapon is Montu. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Horus and Serqet.


[7] ROPES AND WHIPS

Ropes and whips are considered less conventional for combat, but can be effective weapons by those who know how to use them. Often made with reinforced fibers or chains, they can be smooth in surface or covered with beads or metal to add weight along the cord, or near the lasso’d or striking ends.

Ropes can be controlled through spinning or by throwing with the aid of weighted ends to wrap around parts of an opponent’s body — such as their limbs or around their torso — which can bind them and/or knock them off balance. They can be knotted into lassos and lariats and follow the same principle, to capture and hinder the movement of enemies, and in some cases to disarm or capture an opponent’s weapon.

Whips are shorter in comparison to ropes, but longer than most weapons when unfurled at full length. Whips are often used to produce a cracking sound, as a method of signalling or a means of intimidation. When combat is necessary, whips are formidable weapons that can severely strike opponents from a mid-range distance. Magic can be use to add extra force behind a whip’s strike or send waves of energy that follow the path of the cord.

[EX: Common variations of ropes and whips include the lariat, lasso, signal whip, snake whip, and bull whip.]

A notable deity who wields the whip as her signature divine weapon is Serqet, while a deity who favors the lariat is Renenutet. Other deities skilled with these weapons include Hathor, Wadjet, and Shezmu.


[8] BLADED POLEARMS

Bladed polearm weapons are powerful and effective in combat, when skillfully wielded by a deity. Polearms such as spears and lances are mainly used by thrusting forward to pierce at opponents, at a more extended distance than for swords and knives, while scythes can be used to cut and slice at enemies, and javelins can be thrown at a long range distance. The handle portion of bladed polearms can also be used for added leverage and defense, in much the same manner as a staff (see below).

Magic can be channelled and concentrated along the blades for added offensive damage, or released from the blade for a short-range distance strike. Reinforcing the handles with magic can also protect the weapon and wielder from the strikes of other weapons and spells.

[EX: Common variations of bladed polearms include the spear, lance, scythe, trident, and javelin.]

Notable deities who wield bladed polearms as their signature divine weapon include Set (Spear), Mafdet (Scythe), and Yamm (Trident). Other deities skilled with this weapon include Neith and Ra.


[9] STAFFS, RODS, AND BATONS

Polearms without blades or other striking parts at the end can be used as formidable weapons, and many deities learn and know how to use a staff for magic and/or physical combat. Rather than dealing heavy force or cutting at enemies, staffs or rods can be used offensively to swing and strike their targets, and defensively to guard their wielder against attacks. They can be used as added leverage to allow their wielder to maneuver and steady themselves during combat, while also being swung, swept, or rapidly spun to disarm an opponent or knock them off balance.

A deity well-trained with using a staff can land a good mark on their target even without magic, and the staff can be used to stun or immobilize any foes with a well-placed strike. Magic can be channeled along the length of the staff to add power to its blows, or send waves of energy toward opponents.

A notable deity who wields the staff as his signature divine weapon is Anubis. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Horus, Set, and Thoth.


[10] SCEPTERS AND WANDS

Although similar in shape to polearms, scepters are ornamented and ceremonial staffs that are primarily used for their ability to direct and amplify the power, strength, and duration of magic that deities can cast. Scepters are also symbols of power and authority that are often reserved for high-ranking and royal deities. In contrast, wands are a flattened, curved tool that can be used similarly to scepters, and are widely available for deities to use for casting magic.

Deities who prefer to rely on magic for combat make the best use of scepters and wands. Scepters can vary in length from having a long, staff-like handle to being shorter and more compact, and wielders often use magic to physically adjust the length of their scepter’s handle. While it is possible to use certain scepters in a similar manner to polearms, it may require extra effort and reinforcement to protect the scepter from opposing attacks.

There are several deities who wield the scepter as their signature divine weapon, including Isis (Lotus) and Nephthys (Papyrus), as well as Osiris, Set, Hathor, Hapi, Heqet, Mut, Ptah, Seshat, and Sokar. Other deities skilled with this weapon include Anubis, Bastet, Thoth, and Ra. Meanwhile, deities who favor wands for their signature weapon include Hu, Heka, and Sia.

NOTABLE SCEPTERS & WIELDERS

Certain scepters are uniquely shaped, and some may be one-of-a-kind and belong to one wielder at a time. While they function uniquely from each other, they can all be used in a similar way as other scepters to enhance and direct magic.

These scepters include The Crook & Flail*; Was scepters*; Sekhem scepters; Kherep scepters; Aba scepter; Mekes scepters; Hekes scepter; Ankh scepters; Djed scepters; Lotus scepters; and Papyrus scepters.

[EX: As the signature instruments and symbols of his divine royalty, Osiris remains the current wielder of the true Crook and Flail — a special dual-set of scepters that are used in tandem to amplify his magic.

Meanwhile, details surrounding The Was Scepter and its use by Set are expanded in story notes for The Was Scepter. ]


[11] RHYTHM INSTRUMENTS

Rhythm instruments are a departure from conventional weapons, in that deities can use them to amplify magic in a similar way that scepters can. However, the effectiveness of an instrument’s power relies on how skillfully it is played, where certain rhythms can gather and store magic, and others can release said magic for various effects and spells.

In additional to bells and drums, sistrums are a common type of rhythm instrument considered for divine weapons. They are percussion-style instruments that work similarly to a tambourine, normally used to mark the rhythm of chants and songs. The sounds they create can be used to apply spells, especially verbal spells and invocations that can be chanted or sung. In some cases these chants can also placate opponents, including other deities and even demons. The sistrums wielded by deities can also have the handle extended to be used like a scepter or staff, and used similarly when physical force is required.

[EX: Common variations of rhythm instruments include sistrums, drums, bells, pipes, cymbals, harps, lyres, lutes, and tamborines.]

A notable deity who wields a rhythm instrument as her signature divine weapon is Bastet (Sistrum). Other deities skilled with this weapon include Hathor and Bes.


[12] OTHER WEAPONS AND INSTRUMENTS

Divine weapons are not simply restricted to the choices mentioned previously, but can extend to less conventional weapons, tools, and objects. Deities who are resourceful, or take a more unorthodox approach to combat, may find better use in wielding unconventional weapons.

[EX: Some other types of weapons and instruments include throwing sticks, slings, shields, stela, and tablet (with a stylus).]

Shields are rarely used by deities for defense, as many deities prefer to wield weapons without additional gear, instead relying on their natural durability and magic when defense is necessary. However, shields may be used by deities who prefer having the solid defense it provides, and can be reinforced with magic to absorb, deflect, and even reflect opposing attacks and spells.

Shields can also be used as weapons to knock down enemies, or to be tossed as a projectile (much like a discus), and a similar approach can be used with weapons such as disks and hoops/rings. Wadjet and Nekhbet both use specialized shen rings as their divine weapons, and Ra and Khonsu favor the sun disk and moon disk, respectively.

Throwing sticks and slings are used as expected, with the former being easier to craft and thus more dispensable, and the latter being used to aim projectiles such as pebbles and rock towards its target. They are often both used for hunting, but can also be used for battle, and modified with magic to throw spells towards opponents using charms. Khepri is one deity who uses slings and charms for his divine weapon.

Tablets are not used as physical weapons or even as defense, and thus they are rarely used for combat. But they can be used by deities who prefer to cast magic through writing, including offensive or protective spells. Writing glyphs on magically enhanced tablets or stela (using a stylus or pen) give the spell a solid foundation and precision, depending on the details given and the control of its wielder’s abilities. Thoth and Ma’at both favor their tablet and stylus for their divine weapons.