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In Alendyias, just like most places, there are diplomats. Those who hold the Class, however, have a distinct problem. You can win plenty of battles with words, but not against people who can't or won't listen. "But what about bodyguards?" Seeing as there are ways around them and monsters exist, it seems apparent Diplomats will have to be able to defend themselves, but with what?

Specifications:

To be clear, I'm looking for a weapon. This weapon should be:

  • Capable of lethal and nonlethal attacks (emphasis on nonlethal; carrying especially dangerous weapons and killing with them doesn't exactly help diplomatic relations anymore than an ambassador carrying a machine gun and beating up people who offend him would. It's just not good for rep.)

  • Be useful for disarming, subduing, or knocking out opponents, hopefully also blocking attacks

  • Can be concealed effectively, then drawn and wielded quickly when things go south

  • Would preferably be capable of holding enemies at bay (spears are ideal for this)

  • Would preferably be capable of ranged or melee attacks ( so to avoid sword-in-a-bowfight situations)

My Thoughts So Far:

My first thought was a dagger, as they are easily concealed and can be quickly drawn, not to mention thrown at ranged attackers, but those aren't so easily turned to nonlethal attacks. Sure, you can whack someone with the flat or hilt, but how likely is that to knock someone out? Never mind disarming someone with a dagger (though that could work with a sai), or keeping people with swords or spears a safe distance away!

A staff could also work, but they're not easily concealed, except perhaps in plain sight as a cane or walking stick. While a staff's range and capacity for nonlethal attacks is impressive, however, they are relatively easy to disarm (by chopping or slicing through them), are unlikely to successfully block an attack, and a smart opponent would recognize that a 'walking stick' can be used as a weapon and act accordingly.

Tessens were used by the Japanese, but considering Alendyias is a medieval fantasy world, that means that they'd have to hold up against sword or spear strikes, not to mention arrows, in order to be viable. They also can't hold someone a safe distance away like a spear can.

So, assuming medieval technology only (no firearms), what weapon would be best for a Diplomat, considering the above specifications? European or Asian, doesn't matter, as long as it fits the specs.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Sep 15 at 14:08

10 Answers 10

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Your weapon needs to do two things:

  • be "harmless" enough that anyone who dares attack a diplomat will stop attacking and live, but make it abundantly clear that getting up for another attack is not the way to go.
  • be deadly enough to fend off the dangerous monsters of your world. I loosely followed your questions and there are a lot of dangerous creatures among them.

The "harmless" section can relatively easily be filled with a type of mace. Nothing says "dont get up and listen to me" like a couple of broken ribs or broken leg. Yes this is potentially lethal but an acceptable risk, especially if the diplomats get extensive training in defusing dangerous opponents alive with one.

The second option is more difficult with a pure mace. Your world contains the mythical "hippopotamus", a creature you aren't going to fend off with blunt force trauma. For this reason you will need either an axe or pickaxe head as secondary on the other end of it. I like the pickaxe part as an axe would not penetrate deep enough into a hippo or something like an Engulfer.

So the solution: a short bec-de-corbin*, which has the added advantage of a speartip to deal with charging enemies.

You might wonder "but who would allow any diplomat to wander around with such weapons inside?". Well this world has a ton of monsters, weapons will proliferate everywhere and being unarmed might leave you the odd one out. The advantage of a Bec-de-corbin is that it uses sharp tips for damaging, so it is harder to accidentally harm someone.

Since this is likely a fantasy world that has had medieval tech for centuries some additional tech could be present. Like the ability to unscrew the speartip and pickaxetip when going about their business inside a town or city, then screwing it back on when leaving. That way they can slightly fake that cane-look, which also shows trust in thar you are holding the mace at the head.

For additional protection against arrows which seems to be necessary as well: a small shield.

* https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bec_de_corbin

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the real selling point is the fact you can unscrew the weapon, making them inoffensive in court, sort of. Just hope that the pointy part doesn't ruin your attire : these things quickly make holes x). $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 11 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, it looks like this is the most effective weapon a Diplomat can wield against monsters! I especially like how a bec-de-corbin can become a cane by simply taking off the ends.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 17 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias keep in mind that literally unscrewing the heads would require industrial machine tools levels of precision. My guess would be some kind of pin system that you can knock in and out of a tight hole to lock the heads in place, and a turning knob which grabs the head of the pin and locks it into place against the side of the hole. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Sep 18 at 7:41
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Canes had historically been used for self defense.

In France, there is an entire sport called Canne de combat

It would perfectly fit the diplomats because

  • it is hidden in plain sight
  • it can be both lethal and non-lethal
  • it can be reinforced with steel and even equipped with hidden blades
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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Sep 15 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer! I believe a cane is the best choice, albeit with some modifications, which is why I accepted Demigan's answer. This is because Diplomats will need to have anti-monster options. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 17 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I'm glad to be helpful, though the "monsters" part left me confused. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Sep 18 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ That's okay, I recognize now some links to previously posted questions would have been helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 18 at 0:08
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Sword as everyday wear

In most European countries, wearing a sword was limited to aristocrats, and so aristocrats all wore swords as a sign that they were aristocrats. A diplomat would therefore always be armed, because you wouldn't send a commoner to represent your country. And you wouldn't deprive a diplomat of his sword, because that would be a grave insult to the diplomat - and by extension, to his country.

Knife as everyday wear

Everyone carried a knife, from an age where they could be trusted not to stick themselves with it too often. Poorer people had simple knives; richer people had better quality steel and ornamentation. Generally this was an everyday tool, as well as often used for eating.

This naturally meant that knife fights were a thing. The author Christopher Marlowe was killed in a knife fight in a pub. Aristocrats got fencing lessons, and all manuals have techniques using knives - generally as an offhand weapon with the sword, but they'd certainly be trained in how to use it.

This mostly died out when cutlery started to be mass-produced, and there was no need to take your own knife with you to the table. Many people still carried utility knives though, for everyday uses varying from cutting pen nibs (the origin of the word "pen-knife") to smokers cleaning out their pipes. These would be of little use against an armed and determined attacker trying to kill you, of course, but diplomats were more at risk of being captured for ransom. So they could certainly be kept concealed after surrendering, looking for an opportunity to go stabby on an unsuspecting captor.

Sword-stick

These were moderately popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Wearing a sword was falling out of fashion, but many places were not safer than they had been before. In addition, gentlemen often affected the use of a walking stick as a personal ornament. A walking stick by itself is a decent weapon, of course - stick fighting has a long tradition all over the world. But concealing a rapier blade in the cane gives you a more obviously lethal option for self-defense, whilst not being overtly threatening.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, thanks for sharing this information! I had no idea that swords and knives were so ubiquitous in medieval times.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 11 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias ah.... so carrying sword to the court or office or to the town are ok? i was under the impression that it was not allowed in your case, otherwise your question is too obvious to me, because there some that allowed them carrying weapon and there some that dont allowed it, depend on their culture and law especially you also include asian culture. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 13 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ @LiJun It only seems "too obvious" if you're working from modern assumptions. The sword as a sign of being an aristocrat is something most people don't know about unless they've read up a fair bit on historical culture. Of course a worldbuilder can change their culture to fit, but history is a good place to start. And with knives, there's really no way around the fact that everyone would have a personal knife at all times before the Industrial Revolution made cutlery cheap. $\endgroup$
    – Graham
    Sep 13 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ uhm... just to be clear, that comment was directly mean to talk to OP not yours, since in OP context it seems that OP did have some general knowledge of it, from talking about dagger, sai, staff, and even tessen, and samurai carrying sword are pretty common trope this day (even though it also depend on the host/ruler), even if you dont know the european custom. and historically even europe also have some that allowed their civilian to carry sword and dagger and some dont, even the pope ban dagger to the point they make a loophole to create rondel dagger or is it stiletto dagger, i forgot. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 14 at 6:49
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Here's six for all your "diplomaty" needs. I personally like the last one the most, but go over the list and find what suits yourself.

Not really a weapon alone but... Poisons

You seem to be worried about the fact that daggers might kill, so instead make poison do the job, it will give you much more control over the lethality. One successful strike is all you need with this method, the rest of the battle can be focused on defence (or running around and away), waiting for the poison to take effect.

If you go on for daggers replace stabby-stabby daggers by slashy-slashy knives, you'll have more control on the lethality of your attacks that way (-> you won't inadvertently pierce the chest of someone).

Blowpipes

Speaking of poisons... Blowpipes are not too big, not too shabby and are quite known for being used with poisonous darts, either the lethal or non-lethal ones.

And maybe someone would find a way to hide it even better by making it a flute of it, too. It will surely not be as easy to use or need some preparation time done that way, so take it in mind.

Decorative swords

A common habit in diplomaty is to show your power. And such habit comes with pretty and strong symbols, such as decorative swords.

While they would not probably be as sturdy as a real one, and you might need to repair them after every fight -making them a costly option-, you could always use that in a pinch. In ceremonies it might be very well worth the use and totally tolerated by any noble parties.

For the non-lethal part, simply use the scabard. It should be enough to push back and hurt most threats until help come along.

Staves and canes

I guess you described already all the good staves have. Just note that you could always make them of metal instead of wood, adding that fancy look on top of sturdiness.

Regarding the fact it shows you have a weapon, why simply not? Roads are unsafe, and if you don't want a bodyguard sneezing around you like a bumblebee around a flower at all time, you need to have some means of self-protection. After all, what could bring to ash relationships more than having a diplomat's face squeezed down by the first thug? It shows a rather weak face for both parties : the lord could not protect their guest, and well, being beat up by a peasant surely hits the self-esteem...

Slings

Slings are really easy to hide (it's very small), ammo is quite plentiful and while you could bring down someone if you're not careful enough, it shouldn't be deadly enough as long as you don't hit the head.

If you're the "almighty bling-bling for your bang" type of diplomat, or just you couldn't bring up rocks at the noblehouse somehow, then perhaps use some of the custom-shaped gold coins as ammo (regular coins might not be heavy enough to do the trick). Or perhaps potion marbles with various effects, if your world allows it, and your guy have enough money.

COMBO ! Sling staves

Now we have staves, and we have slings... What if we brought the two words and worlds closer? You get the advantage of having a somewhat useable close-range weapon, and the range if needed. Don't expect to have the best of the two worlds as slingstaves are meant to throw things first and foremost, and any blend of slingstaves and staves will give advantage to either one of these attack types. But given the conditions you gave, it seems like a pretty optimal choice.

If by chance you fear that having one leather band tied to the staff is not very elegant for a diplomat to have, then you could hide it among ornaments or remove it until needed. More ornaments makes it more suited for courts, and with some basic lock mechanism you could always remove them to make them more combat useable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I always appreciate your additional perspective. Now, I wonder how effective a flute would be as a blowpipe.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 11 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Alendyias I am not entirely sure, too, to be honest. It would definitely need some clever mechanism to be as quickly useable as possible, and like every blend of tools, you will not get the best of each of them. You'd most probably lack accuracy for blowpipes, and well sound quality for flutes ^^'. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Sep 11 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ the more i read this, the more it feel like assassination tools than diplomat self defense one though. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 11 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ oh yeah except the sling though, but i have a hard time thinking diplomat carrying this everywhere, also i dont think sling can incapacitate if you target anywhere except to the head and maybe to the crotch, and sling staff are more optimal for open field though you need space to fling it you see, and it did have a chance to get tangled or grabbed by the assault, i personally suggest to keep it separated, also custom coin would be need to be quite big, that seems awkward as coin to carrying around with the bulk, might be better to use heavier metal instead. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 11 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Alendyias regarding blowpipe as flute, its not like your fingers cant plug each holes (i am not sure how well that be though), the problem is in the mouth part which you need to be able to unplug or remove, still... a darts is not something you can carry everyday without being suspicious or alerting the guard and think you are an assassin rather than simply for self defense, they likely did check your equipment before entering royal palace or office or even entering the town/city gate, beside flute are more associate with musician rather than diplomat though unless it was in their free time. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 11 at 13:12
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I would say a diplomat's weapon should be multi-purpose; not only a deadly tool for killing, but an attractive status piece that could reflect well on their hosts. Weapons aren't completely prohibited of diplomats, and few but the most paranoid of rulers would seize each and every one of their visitors' weapons. Take this portrait of Moroccan ambassador to England ‘Abd al-Wāḥid ben Mas‘ūd from 1600. Note his very attractive sword displayed for all to see.

Image of Abd al-Wahid ben Mas'ud. He is wearing white robes and turban with a black cape. He has a sword with a gold handle and black sheath decorated with a large golden ornament.

Here's a breakdown of my ideas:

  • Rapiers

Deadly, attractive, and lightweight. They don't hold exceptionally well against anything except another rapier, though, due to the skinny blade that can easily be cracked by a strong hit from a larger weapon, like an axe or club. Intended for gentlemanly duels and finding an unintentional nieche as a capable tool for assassins, but it cannot hold its own in prolonged combat and is unlikely to cause real damage in an emergency to anything more serious than an angry deer.

Lethality: As a dueling weapon, they are intended to cause only superficial injuries, not lethal ones. As a sword, however, they are just as capable of murder as any other sharpened metal. The thin blade is especially well-designed for silent assassinations and decisive hits at vital points, especially into the neck from beneath a helmet.

Disabling: The rapier is designed to parry. A strong enough slice with it could likely even slice through the shaft of a spear, at some considerable risk to the blade.

Concealing: They are not made to be concealed, they are made to be paraded about and draw attention with their immaculate design - though by trading the basket hilt for a small crossguard and possibly even a shorter blade, they could be hidden under a long coat - but they are really not designed to be concealed.

Distancing: Maintaining distance from your opponent is the first rule of dueling. The long blade can keep an opponent at bay and the exceptionally light weight can facilitate quick movements even while drawn.

Range: No. They are too light and the handle too heavy on its own. How dare you even think to toss such a magnificent design??

Attractiveness: That is the whole point, dear. Their large, decorated basket hilts are the epitome of elegance and utility. Many rapiers of the world never drew blood, and existed solely because of their supremely attractive design.

  • Axe

Lethal, lightweight, and stealthy. A small hand-axe could be a solid choice. It can break a wood shield, chop the head off a spear, or kill someone very quickly with a well-placed blow. Especially with monsters, the extra swing force could help with thick hides or bony plates.

Lethality: It's actually quite hard not to kill someone in the case of axes, though there are some axes that have a blunt end on the opposite side of the blade, which could be used for less lethal attacks.

Disabling: Chopping off a few choice fingers will reduce the capability of any opponent. They're not as gifted as swords when it comes to parrying long blades, but they can hack the business end off a spear with relative ease if you're quick about it.

Concealing: A one-handed axe can easily be hidden away beneath a long coat.

Distancing: You have to be practically kissing your enemy to get any use out of an axe.

Range: You can throw an axe, but your accuracy has to be on point if you're using one that has the hybrid intent of crushing blows and deadly throws. Smaller, often square-shaped axe heads intended for throwing lose much of the weight and blade area

Attractiveness: Though they can be impressively decorated, the utilitarian design of the axe leaves precious little to the imagination. Without this expensive decoration, they are relatively unattractive things. Axes also tend to carry a connotation of barbarism in most courts, which could leave a poor impression.

  • Dagger

Lightweight, attractive, and stealthy. As you had already said, though, they are intended for nothing short of quick and seamless lethality, and they are not made to parry or disarm and cannot keep enemies at bay with any ease.

Lethality: The intention of a dagger is to kill. Your best bet for non-lethality is to leave superficial wounds until your opponents surrender, and even then, that's a lot of blood loss. We're already asking our ambassadors to be experienced combatants and skilled diplomats - adding medical training into the equation is probably asking too much.

Disabling: Not facilitated by the dagger's design. Your best bet is agility here.

Concealing: Daggers are famously easy to conceal. You can hide them basically anywhere.

Distancing: Daggers are small. Not a strength of theirs.

Range: Not made to be thrown, actually. They're balanced for quick, stabbing blows and most would serve about as well as a rapier if thrown. Throwing knives are even smaller, lighter, and less effective in prolonged combat.

Attractiveness: Daggers are often extremely attractive with little effort. Even without extensive decoration, the long shiny blade is a certainly beautiful thing. Similarly to the axe, however, they carry a connotation of assassins and thieves in most places, and might leave a negative impression in some courts.

  • Khanjali

Lethal, lightweight, attractive, and stealthy. Essentially a short sword, but intended for dagger-like use. The long, sharp blade could stab deep into the heart of a beast, and the attractive traditional designs are sure to impress. Keep in mind that this is, however, my favorite bladed weapon on the planet and in that I may be slightly biased.

Lethality: It is a sword, it is made to kill. Like the other long-bladed weapons mentioned, they are hard-pressed to not leave fatal wounds.

Disabling: It can parry, though not quite as well as a longer weapon. Disarming is not it's forte.

Concealing: Effective like a sword, stealthy like a dagger. A khanjali can be hidden almost anywhere, especially with a larger coat.

Distancing: It is a blade, and so you will have to hit them with it. They are made for stabbing as well, and not slashing, so you must get even closer.

Range: Like most melee weapons, they are not made to be thrown and you'd need to be exceptionally lucky to hit anyone with it.

Attractiveness: Absolutely. They are traditionally very beautiful things. Displaying such a fine weapon is sure to inspire equal parts respect and envy anywhere.

  • Belt/Whip Sword

I have seen several diagrams and still I don't fully understand how these are supposed to work, but regardless, it's probably the best fit for the rules set here. An accessory, whip, and sword in one tool.

Lethality: As a sword, it is undeniably lethal like any other blade. As a whip, it can take off a limb in a single move, or disable an enemy with ease with its sharp edges and inherent damages of cracking a whip.

Disabling: You could literally whip the weapon out of their hand. Excells in this regard.

Concealing: Who would suspect a belt?

Distancing: Whips can cover quite a lot of distance. Excells in this regard.

Range: Can't be realistically thrown, but the whip itself covers a considerable distance.

Attractiveness: What an accessory! As it's mostly blade, it may not be very wise to decorate the most of it, but it still is rather stunning.

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent first answer DMFRG, welcome to worldbuilding. (From review). $\endgroup$ Sep 13 at 6:38
  • $\begingroup$ You can google for 'urumi' to see how flexible swords are used. They require a lot of skill to avoid self-injury. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Sep 13 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer, thanks for being so neat and thorough! Seriously, this is one of the best-made answers I've ever seen on this site, so if you wanted a glorious entrance here, welcome to the site! $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 13 at 22:47
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for all of the hellos!! I'm glad I could help ^^ $\endgroup$
    – INPU
    Sep 14 at 5:28
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, I believe I'm going to have my Diplomats use a bec-de-corbin or rapier-in-a-cane. $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 17 at 23:40
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A hat. Especially in a setting where diplomats are expected to wear it as a part of their professional attire. Much like a top hat, though it came later (but there is no reason it would not happen much earlier). Seemingly innocuous, you can hide something inside, but a reinforced, sharp iron-brimmed hat can be a nice unexpected weapon. And in a fantasy setting, you can master your hat to be a deadly weapon indeed - as Mr. Oddjob of James Bond fame proves.

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  • $\begingroup$ Um, as cool as razor-rimmed hats might be, I think that might be more Hollywood science than a viable weapon.... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 11 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Alendyias chakram did exist, but the problem with throwing weapon are, you have limited ammo and they stuck to your enemy to far away to retrieve it safely (they dont return back when hit). $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 13 at 0:49
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I have used a lot of multi-tools in my life. It's been my experience that, the more functions you try to shove into one single object, the less effective that object is at doing anything at all. Sure, you could try to design a concealable lethal/nonlethal ranged/melee object that can block attacks...but the resulting object likely wouldn't do any of that very well.

That's my opinion. With said opinion out of the way, here's my suggestion.

You mentioned your world has monsters, but you don't mention magic. I'm going to fudge the laws of nature a bunch and introduce a new breed of snake: the Hooded Banshee Cobra.

The Hooded Banshee Cobra has several features that make it the ideal concealed weapon for your Alendyiasan Diplomats.

  1. Snakes are not commonly known for their trainability, but the Hooded Banshee Cobra is unusually trainable. A Diplomat that spends enough time caring for their Hooded Banshee Cobra can get it to do a few key things. I'll leave it to you how far this can go, but at the very least they should understand "don't bite the Diplomat" and "please hiss now".

  2. This cobra is small enough to fit into a pouch or one of those puffy sleeves featured so often in medieval fashion. It is content to ride around like that all day so long as it's treated well and kept at a pleasant temperature. I conducted a brief search of the internet and found a bunch of conflicting information about snake sizes. Depending on who you listen to, cobras can range from 4 feet to 10 feet long, with some debate on whether or not King Cobras count as True Cobras. I have no opinion on this. Anyway, I think an 8 foot cobra would be enough cobra to get and hold an enemy's attention.

  3. Some snakes can growl, others hiss. Pine snakes apparently have a vocal cord and can shriek. The Hooded Banshee Cobra can shriek.

  4. Hooded Banshee Cobras spit venom that can cause temporary paralysis. Wikipedia says that some species of spitting cobra can spit up to 6+ feet. National Geographic says that spitting cobras aim for eyes, and that they all have pretty good aim.

  5. The Hooded Banshee Cobra has a large, flashy, distinctive hood. A Diplomat holding an angry Cobra wouldn't be completely obscured by the hood, but an enemy archer would find it challenging to focus on the Diplomat. I'd give this a pitiful partial concealment effect vs ranged attacks from the front. Probably wouldn't do much at all, but I suppose a desperate Diplomat could give it a try.

You end up with a concealed, trained cobra that has a 6' range paralysis attack, a biting attack, and is distracting as can possibly be. Sure, "distracting" isn't the same as "can block attacks", but I think I'm already stretching plausibility enough as it is.

Finally, smart Diplomats back this up with a dagger in their boot. When this ridiculous plan goes wrong, at least they've got an 8 foot long shrieking distraction... and a dagger.

One could argue that a live cobra doesn't count as a "wieldable weapon". I'll acknowledge that this response is stretching quite a bit.

Yes, I have read the Adventures of Pip and Flinx. If this answer gets any points at all, I would like to state that at least half of said points should rightfully go to Alan Dean Foster (if he's on StackExchange).

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  • $\begingroup$ Actually, this is a very nice answer! A trained cobra that can shriek and spit poison into people's eyes would be a very useful defense weapon, especially considering that some snakes can glide, and if it can take orders, it could likely position itself to take down a potential threat when given the right cue... $\endgroup$
    – Alendyias
    Sep 11 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Also, it wouldn't "hold enemies at bay" quite as well as a spear, but I think many enemies/monsters would stop and consider the situation, even for just a moment... $\endgroup$
    – Snapdragon
    Sep 12 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ one cons are, pet can die if it get hit because they are not hard or durable against steel or sharp object though. and pet sometimes not listen to command because they also have their own mind like fear or anger. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 13 at 1:24
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I think they had this technology by medieval times...

Telescoping or collapsible staff/spear.

I saw mentioned throwing knives as an option, shuriken are also easily hidden and effective as medium range throwing options. Combined with a slingshot or other launching device like an atlatl can gain much more distance, and the sling/launcher can be easily hidden or even woven into clothing.

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    $\begingroup$ Even today, telescoping weapons don't work very well. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Sep 11 at 19:34
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I would suggest looking into concealed weapons and weapons that can be easily disguised. If the magic system allows it magic would be a nice choice for Diplomats.

Concealed weapons may include:

  • small blades (knives and daggers; can also be hidden in shoes);
  • needles (may or may not require blowguns; it is a popular choice for Poison Masters and assassins in eastern fantasy);
  • small concealed crossbows (usually placed on arms, can be concealed by sleeves);
  • knuckles;
  • urumi (flexible swords; require mastery for proper use);
  • small throwing weapons (darts, daggers, spikes, shurikens, etc.);
  • threads (metal, for example) and/or ropes (the goal is strangulation; requires high mastery for proper use);
  • sand, powder, etc. (anything that can be thrown into an enemy's face or suspended in the air, may have properties of poison; these substances are used to confuse, obstruct vision, and slow down).

All concealed weapons can have a 'poisoned' option to increase their damage.

Disguised weapons may include:

  • tessens (tessens are great, they are basically small clubs);
  • swords (can be disguised as canes, umbrellas, or ceremonial equipment);
  • sheaths or scabbards (these are not really disguised weapons, but they can be reinforced and used as blunt weapons);
  • accessories (hairpins, hair ornaments, decorative elements of outfits, and alike; these are usually small cutting, piercing, or throwing weapons, in fantasy they are common for women and assassins);
  • spurs (may need some design adjustments to increase damage);
  • cloaks can be used as shields or to confuse the enemy;
  • belts with buckles can make a somewhat passable close-range weapon in skilled hands;
  • decorative cords and similar objects (basically ropes; can be used to whip, strike, and garrote; the proper technique is required).

Diplomats can also be skilled at using improvised weapons: Chairs, household items, random sticks, and so on. The class might need some buff or mastery to increase proficiency and damage with these weapons to avoid balance issues.

In addition to weapons, I would suggest thinking about using words to apply states to enemies and allies. For example, a Diplomat may confuse enemies, slow them down, turn them into allies (temporarily or permanently), buff allies and raise their morale, etc. Diplomat can be a useful support class with this type of ability.

Diplomats should also be able to detect the weaknesses of their opponents. If the balance is an issue and similar ability exists for other classes, Diplomat's ability can be limited to mental states (for example, increased probability of states like confusion, fear, charm) while combat-oriented classes focus on physical conditions (bleeding, slow down, etc.).

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  • $\begingroup$ agree with you, i personally are more in the Disguised/unconventional weapons, some of your weapon list there was what in my mind too, but cane are better weapon overall in the scenario/specification OP mention (assuming sword are not allowed in the court), in my opinion. i disagree with some of the concealed weapon there though, limited ammo are a factor and it will raise suspicion as assassin for the diplomat if the guard manage to found it during their body check, especially if it contain poison even if it harmless. $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 13 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ except maybe pocket sand i guess.... but really... diplomat carrying sand everywhere....? (this include powder too, at least its understandable if it was in their room scenario though) $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 13 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ No need for sand; coins from your pocket thrown at an opponents face serve as a distraction. In H.Beam Piper's book 'Four Day Planet' The protagonist uses a roll of quarters as a way of weighting his fists for punching, and if the coin rolls break, the money scattered on the floor tends to distract non serious attackers into grabbing for the money. $\endgroup$ Sep 13 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ @LiJun Diplomat is a class, not just an occupation. I think that players with this class should have access to a variety of weapons and they can equip/unequip them depending on the situation. Please also consider that Diplomats are not limited to diplomatic activities. $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Sep 13 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ its still the main part of their profession though, and what you mean that diplomat is a class? like caste? or you mean like D&D or RPG class? agree that diplomat is not limited to diplomatic activities (hence i also bring powder in their room or flute in their free time in other answer) but if you use that as an argument, then we might as well remove the "diplomat" part out of the question. and carrying sand everywhere inside their pocket (if OP world have pocket) or pouch seems silly anyway (just a joke) $\endgroup$
    – Li Jun
    Sep 14 at 6:28
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The best "weapon" is lots and lots of training.

... and probably a dagger + hand-to-hand combat.

Your requirements don't lend themselves well to a single "best"; they all have very different "best" weapons.

The best weapon for lethal attacks tends to be something very sharp or capable of firing deadly projectiles at high speed. Just point the scary bit toward the enemy and there you go. You do want some training at least, but it typically doesn't require too much training to use reasonably well (although you'll still get outmatched by someone who's well-trained). Sharp things and deadly projectiles is obviously not good for nonlethal attacks.

As soon as you start talking about nonlethal attacks, disarming, subduing or knocking out opponents or blocking attacks, you start needing a whole lot of training to do that particularly effectively, especially against armed or trained opponents. When you do have all that training, you'd be able to fairly effectively do basically all those things with just your hands.

If lots and lots of training is not a viable option, then I would strongly suggest just forgetting about the nonlethal option. I wouldn't consider that to be particularly viable without sufficient training.

But why pick a deadly weapon? Why not some hybrid?

You do mention wanting to mostly use nonlethal attacks, so a deadly weapon might seem counter-intuitive.

But think about it this way: if you're outmatched, on the rare occasions where that might happen, your goal is to not die and you want every advantage you can get. The survival of your attacker(s) is not your priority. Having a weapon optimised for lethal attacks is what you want here.

The times you'll use nonlethal attacks is when you believe you can win by only using such attacks. Thus you use hand-to-hand combat, which may not be the absolute best option, but it's far from bad. If things start going south, you always have the option of drawing your dagger.

To put it simply: lethal attacks is what you want to be most effective at, even if you don't use it that often.

Also, bodyguards.

Bodyguards can carry multiple weapons, shouldn't have to worry about concealment that much and can deal with threats in a number of ways (including, as a last resort, just buying some time so you can get away). A few bodyguards can also deal with a much larger number of attackers than a single person. They can be dedicated to training, which would make a skilled bodyguard much better trained than your diplomat could ever be expected to be trained.

I would say having bodyguards is practically non-negotiable if you consider people attacking you to be likely enough.

Bodyguards can worry about the whole lethal/nonlethal thing. Once someone gets past a bodyguard, they're likely a big enough threat that you want to go lethal and, again, your priority should mostly just be to not die at that point.

Nonlethal? Don't get your hopes up.

As soon as you have multiple attackers, you're going to have a really hard time staying nonlethal (and actually winning). You're going to need to be so much better than them to have a decent shot of surviving. Even if you can stab people left and right, your odds of winning probably still aren't that great, but at least you can be fairly sure someone won't "just shake it off" when the floor is covered in a pool of their blood.

If your opponent is armed, you're risking a hell of a lot by trying to disarm them instead of trying to just kill them. The average person has a whole lot of soft bits all over their body for you to stick a dagger into to stop them or slow them down. But the only way to disarm them is to actually get to that relatively tiny weapon they're moving all over the place, and then to actually pry it out of their hands in some way. Seems much more risky.

Knocking someone out is not as easy as Hollywood makes it seem. If you want to do that fairly reliably, you're probably going to have to subdue the person first (and still long-term damage or death on their part). You're unlikely to knock them out by just knocking them on the head with any amount of reliability. So this is basically completely out of the window with multiple attackers.

You don't want to put yourself in a position of needing to block attacks, because that means you're already on the defensive and you have a decent chance of failing to block (and thus dying).

The longer you try to hold enemies at bay with some weapon, the greater risk of failing to do so and dying. This is really not something you want to willing do, at all, ever, if it can be avoided in any way. This is especially especially true when the person you're trying to protect is you.

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