April 12, 2012
I've made this design for a weapon, purpose and history described below. I would very much like to see someone else's view of what it should look like. If you post one, tell me whether or not you looked at mine first. Honor system.
A non-charismatic noble who happened to have lame melee skills with all but a shield, had a problem. Six times he went into battle, had most of his men desert him, got captured, was ransomed back--all very embarrassing. Guns were grossly expensive, inaccurate, and wore out too quick in this world, so he and a local smith developed something they called a 'fetch.' A one-shot weak black powder tube with a range of thirty yards max would fire the fetch into the back of a deserter or maybe a slave he couldn't trust to fight. It might break one shoulder blade with a perfect shot, but most likely it would simply impale itself in one side of the back, making fighting with the other arm desirable. Barbed blades to prevent removal. A strong cord would be attached to the noble's shield, stuffed into the hollow center. Then the whole fetch would be mounted on a launch tube (not depicted.) A squire would carry six of them. Up to seven scared, throbbing, bleeding men fighting with one arm could then lead him into battle. He could cut one loose at any time if they died. Or shoot one with a dart blowtube mounted on his shield if they got too unruly. "Win this battle, and I'll cut you free, slaves!" Size: blade tip span about diameter of an apple. Left end of tube in side view would flatten and retract on a spring to bend the blades once impaled. Right end (boxed) would hold enough batting to keep the cord from catching fire as the powder exploded.
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