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I have this character who was a skilled swordswoman who fought using a longsword until she lost her left arm in a brutal battle which later replaced with a magical prosthetic arm forged from an indestructible sliver metal called Airgetlám. Airgetlám’s gimmick that with a mere thought, the wearer can reveal its true form: a formless mass of intense light that takes the form of any melee weapon she desires, including swords, maces, axes, spears, warhammers, scythes, flails and whips reaching up to ten meters in length.

However, the form of Airgetlám that the character uses the most is that of a longsword that she fights using techniques akin to German and Italian swordplay. Yet, I have no how such combat styles would translate to a weapon like Airgetlám and whether they would be practical or impractical.

Why or why not?

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  • $\begingroup$ Assuming that the arm turns into an arm "holding" a longsword (rather than a longsword attached to the body at the shoulder joint), on the face of it, the answer is that the character fights like any other left handed person holding a longsword. In order to provide any other answer, we need to know what is special about the made up stuff - unless there is something different about how it interacts with other weapons, armour and flesh in longsword form then there is no difference. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Mar 14 at 3:32
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    $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055's question also raises a second important point - what part of the character's arm is replaced by the melee weapon? The entire arm? At the elbow? Do they have what appears to be a metallic arm which in turn is gripping the weapon? $\endgroup$ – jdunlop Mar 14 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ @KerrAvon2055 not just at the shoulder, any missing joint (wrist, elbow or shoulder) will prevent use of her old sword style, some of her old skills may be transferable but a lot will have to be unlearned, not as bad as trying to ride a bike with reversed steering but the same principle. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 14 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ If you can change the form of the weapon with a thought, can you make it act as if it were held by a normal wrist? It seems like it could flex appropriately. Of course, the sensible thing to do in a proper fight would be to have it shoot out 10m razor tentacles into people's eyesockets at bullet-like speeds, but it'd be nice to flourish a sword at tournaments, right? $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Mar 14 at 21:50
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There's a real-world thing called a Pata. It looks like this:

Pata

It is, more or less, a broadsword or rapier blade protruding from the end of an armoured gauntlet.

Quoth the wikipedia page,

The pata is most commonly paired with either a shield or another pata, though it can also be used with a javelin, axe, or belt. The restrictive handle was particularly suited to the stiff-wristed style of South Asian swordsmanship. Despite its shape, the pata is used primarily for cutting rather than thrusting. The extended grip provided by the forearm permits powerful slashes but restricts any thrusts. This can be seen in mardani khel today and in colonial descriptions which describe spinning techniques with dual pata "much like a windmill".

I wouldn't want to use one myself, but as they were used in anger in actual warfare it would appear that they are entirely practical weapons. It would be most useful for youre character if the fighting style they used before the accident matched well with the new weapon; this is probably not the case for many styles of longsword combat, but that's OK because you get to decide on the history here.

These weapons might be less effective against well armoured opponents... given that they're not so useful for thrusting attacks, even decent chainmail could provide an adequate defense, and there's clearly no scope for half-swording against opponents in a decent suit of plate armour. Of course, if your fictional weapon can transmute itself into any form that's not going to be a problem for your scenario.


I've had a quick look for a video of these things being used, but there's not a whole lot out there. When searching, do make sure you're looking for things with stiff blades as there are a lot of things which people call patas or dandpattas which are actually weirder things like the urumi (a kind of whip sword) with a gauntlet hilt. If anyone can find a good video of one of these things being used, please do share!

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    $\begingroup$ "If anyone can find a good video" , here you go film date 1912 not sure it's really a good video but it's certainly more authentic than anything else I was able to find ... mostly I just found stuff like this, cringingly bad demos by modern European types trying to use one, you can actually see him keep trying to use movements that require a flexible wrist, clearly more used to using an ordinary sword. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 14 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore I get the impression that quite a bit of the modern use of these things (at least on youtube and the like) is reconstruction rather than continuing an unbroken tradition. I'm sure someone, somewhere, knows how to spar effectively with these things, but I've no idea how to go about finding any detail on that. Possibly it requires someone familiar with the Indian bit of the interwebs. That archive film was nice though, ta. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Mar 14 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you could 'spar' with them as such (you lose so much fine control without the wrist), I get the impression from everything I've found that wind milling spinning & leaping attacks were / are pretty much all they're good for, not a weapon for close quarters or close formations of your own troops. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 14 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore I'm not sure I'd completely write them off like that, but I'm hard pressed to find a good use-case for them. They seem so weirdly constrained that I'd have expected them to be associated with some not-entirely-practical martial art form, and that's exactly the sort of thing that should have some good sparring somewhere, even if it were done under somewhat contrived conditions. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Mar 14 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Well that only leaves my first suggestion then, it's a less than optimally functional in real battle prop for the Indian equivalent of the highland sword dance ;)) more an art form than a martial art. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 14 at 14:15
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Longsword.

I personally would take the giant whip (mine would be 11 meters) because I am that metal. But I am also clueless in the use of any melee weapon and my strategy is that people will run when they see me flailing about my 33 foot glowy whip, screaming Iron Maiden lyrics at the top of my lungs.

Your character is "a skilled swordsman who fought using a longsword". I have to think she will want to use that hard earned expertise, not make a giant whip. When it is fighting time, she will make a longsword that has a reach comparable to her old sword and hand.

Sometimes she might make the giant whip though. Out of principle.

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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't appear to answer the question - the OP isn't asking the weapon to choose, they're asking what the fighting style would look like. $\endgroup$ – jdunlop Mar 14 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop It would be the same fighting style as she had before. "Hard earned expertise" etc etc as noted. He establishes she has skills at a time before glowy weapons entered the picture. Whatever her old fighting style was - that is her new magic weapon fighting style. I cannot say what her old style was but I would be glad to make creative guesses if desired. I am in that kind of mood. $\endgroup$ – Willk Mar 14 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk "the same fighting style as she had before" perhaps not, if any part of her arm was missing or compromised (particularly any joints, wrist, elbow or shoulder) in her new sword-arm the way she could use it (& by extension the style) would have to be different . unless the sword arm is basically her arm complete with all joints but with a sword welded into her palm it couldn't be the same style & even then anything that might require even a subtle change or shift of grip would be impossible. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Mar 14 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore - I assumed magic prosthetic would duplicate what she had before;not some Jaime Lannister fake hand. If she could duplicate the function of her missing limb she would want to use the expertise she has. You go with what you know.. $\endgroup$ – Willk Mar 14 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore - I did not realize the baton twirling would be ruled out. That may be a game changer. $\endgroup$ – Willk Mar 14 at 17:19

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