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So, I was thinking about a way to recreate the spell "Bound Sword" from Skyrim and so created this.

A bound weapon consists of:

1. A hilt that generates a strong magnetic field. The hilt doesn't contain a battery and relies on an outside power source supplying it.

2. Azkabantium shards that are suspended in the field and form the sword's blade.

Azkabantium is a made-up composite material that consists of an incredibly sharp (almost monomolecular) diamond edge, surrounding a ferromagnetic core. The core has artificially introduced "errors" in the material that don't allow field lines to penetrate, effectively trapping the lines between different parts of the core and the flakes in position.

However, I'm unsure if that'd work as intended. Namely:

  • The sword is able to effectively cut and pierce targets.
  • Sometimes, azkabantium flakes break loose from the blade and get stuck in the target.
  • The blade of a regular sword will pass through a bound sword's.
  • If a bound sword's blade is disturbed, it returns to normal, given some time.

Could the sword I described actually work, given sophisticated nanotechnology? If not, why?

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    $\begingroup$ Could the Azkabanian shards have their own magnetic field that they could turn on and off selectively like swarm bots and communicate with one another to maintain their shape relative to one another? $\endgroup$ – Dugan Dec 14 '19 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Dugan That seems complicated, but maybe (?) $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 14 '19 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ I’m worried the materials whose crystallography allows for those mind-bendingly sharp edges would actually have a very short life span. Glass tools are available to surgeons and other professionals but they are considered a disposable tool, a dozen or so uses before they have to be thrown. There are other candidates but I’m not gonna commit to describing the manufacturing process for a steel edge measured in nanometers, it’s probably not gonna help you anyway. I’m afraid the quest for monofilaments over complicates your idea far too much. $\endgroup$ – Darius Arcturus Dec 14 '19 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DariusArcturus That's why the blade was supposed to be a bunch of suspended flakes, even if a couple breaks off, there are still a lot of replacements around. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 14 '19 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ as your fragments are hammered together over and over very soon you don't have sharp Azkabantium fragments but a cloud of Azkabantium sand. this thing is not going to stay sharp for long. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 15 '19 at 0:14
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No.

  • When one swordsman parries another, the blades hit each other. As you describe it, your blade would have to "know" if it is hitting a target (damage is inflicted) or if it is being hit by a target (the target passes through).
  • The magnets in the grip would either repel or attract the shards, not hold them it place relative to the blade.

Especially the first bullet point is the hallmark of magic swords -- a material which somehow recognizes the intent of the user and acts accordingly.

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  • $\begingroup$ I thought the blade would simply lack the cohesion to outright cut stuff like metal. It's good against flesh and only flesh, as all swords should be. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 14 '19 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ A good sword doubles as a can opener on long campaigns! $\endgroup$ – SRM Dec 14 '19 at 18:24
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    $\begingroup$ If someone's trying to jab you with a pike, you're definitely going to wish your sword could hit their weapon... $\endgroup$ – Cadence Dec 14 '19 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence well shield exist, unless this sword is for 2hand or OP world dont have shield. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Dec 15 '19 at 1:40
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Yes.

It is of course possible, given a certain technological leap that is at present, beyond our knowledge. Namely, creating a discrete and localised energy field. You're basically asking a variant of the laser sword / light sabre question: how do I get an energy field that's three foot long and about two inches in diametre.

You've handwaved that the tech exists, thus, the sword itself can be made. The question really boils down to will this be effective as a sword. You mention some potential issues:

The sword is able to effectively cut and pierce targets. I'd argue that your weapon will likely not do either of these. As we all know, magnetic fields are compressible -- you can squeeze two SN-NS magnets together until they are quite close together. If you try to stab or slice someone with your weapon, all you're going to end up doing is squashing the field and thus bringing the shards in close proximity. Pushing / stabbing harder may cause the shards to more or less explosively be thrown from the field matrix. This bodes as well for the wielder of the sword as it does for the intended victim!

Sometimes, azkabantium flakes break loose from the blade and get stuck in the target. This, of course, is perfectly fine and not an issue. Consider ancient Aztec swords: bits of obsidian held within a wooden matrix. The main issue with your magnetic sword is that you're unlikely to get those shards much more than about skin deep. An annoyance, to be sure, but unlikely to cause more than irritation.

The blade of a regular sword will pass through a bound sword's. Yes, if your foes are fighting with bronze or stone weapons. Obviously, your magnetic sword wielders will have to take this into account as they develop their martial arts techniques. They can not rely on their own swords as defensive weapons. On a positive note, this can act in their favour, because their enemies have all trained with physical swords and most likely their muscle memory will cause them to overbalance and react inappropriately to your sword. However, once iron and steel swords are developped, you'll find that your enemies' blades will simply be caught in the field matrix, right along with your shards! This could be very interesting indeed!

If a bound sword's blade is disturbed, it returns to normal, given some time. Shouldn't take much time at all: compressed magnets will seek equilibrium as soon as the compressing force is released.

While I think a magnetic sword with bits in it is doable, I don't think it will be an effective weapon. I would suggest that in stead of a sword, you develop a kind of morning star or cat-o-nine-tails weapon. Something that relies on splatting or semi-passively slicing him, rather than actively stabbing him. Also, a whip-like weapon could be used to capture and enemy's (iron) sword before he can close in.

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    $\begingroup$ It should be noted an iron or steel sword is not going to pass through this sword. if it has a magnetic field strong enough to withstand a sword swing you are not getting an iron sword out if it easily, nor are you going to be able to pull it away fro iron amror after after hitting it. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 15 '19 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly my point! An iron sword will not pass through -- it'll just get stuck! You're right, it'll just get stuck to the armour as well! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Dec 15 '19 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ I am picturing the iron sword getting yanked to its center of magnetism accidentally stabbing the person trying to use the magnetic sword as a defense in the face. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 15 '19 at 0:22

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