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Note: Other than a detachable head, there isn't much in common with the standard Irish myth, and this makes use of a magic system. I'm also fine with a little hand waving if I must, I would just rather look at other options first.

In this setting, the Dullahani are remarkably durable, to the point a duller weapon can't even penetrate the skin. They stand at roughly 6 feet (1.8 meters) on average, with the average human being 5'5 (1.6 meters) and other races being usually shorter than even that. The head and body are connected via a sort of 'portal' that links things like blood vessals, nerves, etc. A Dullahani can detach their own heads and reattach them at will, but a decent hit (450 pounds of force) can knock them off unwillingly. A Dullahan retains control over the body while the head is detached.

When the head is removed from the body, the neck becomes a highly vulnerable spot. A decent stab into the exposed neck would cancel the connection between the head and the body, essentially turning the Dullahan into a decapitated human. They have access to 15th and 16th century technology for the most part. Magic isn't really a battlefield 'weapon' as in most cases its a long, complicated ritual to get some basic results.

Dullahan on wikipedia, for those who haven't heard of one before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dullahan

EDIT: I was asking about what weapons to use against them, and which armors they should use. I didn't think I should seperate them into seperate questions.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking for the best weapon for a Dullahan to use or the best weapon against them? $\endgroup$
    – Nosajimiki
    Jan 21, 2022 at 6:11
  • $\begingroup$ @A Rogue Ant. The heads aren't able to move (other than the jaw, which if angled right might be usable for movement?) in any way a human head can't. $\endgroup$
    – Atriol
    Jan 21, 2022 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ What type of technology? $\endgroup$
    – KEY_ABRADE
    Jan 21, 2022 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ "In this setting, the Dullahani are remarkably durable, to the point a duller weapon can't even penetrate the skin." "Duller" is a comparative, but we don't know what the comparison is being made with, what can penetrate their skin? Are Dullahani bones any harder to break than human bones? How does a typical Dullahan's strength compare to that of a human of the same size? Also, suggest putting a link to Wikipedia entry on Dullahan - personally I had never heard the term before and didn't know if it was a creature you had invented. $\endgroup$ Jan 21, 2022 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ Best is highly context sensitive and situational. What technology is available? What is economical to source? Are you looking for a weapon that is only carried in preparation for a fight or a weapon that you can have on you all the time? What are the social mores regarding openly carrying weapons? Are you fighting alone, in a small group, in a massed formation? How much time do you have to training with and becoming strong enough to effectively wield the chosen weapon? $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jan 21, 2022 at 16:30

3 Answers 3

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Weapons against them

Anything that can stab the neck without a specific angle being required from both the dullahani and its assailant would suffice. It's one of the few cases where I'd recommend using a scythe(the one with the horizontal blade, not the specifically combat-adapted one with a straight blade), though a pickaxe or something similar whose business end is at a different angle to its handle would work as well.

Personally though I'd use a morning star. Can deliver enough force to knock off the head and has spikes for 'stabbing' the neck portal, killing them.

Armour for them

Only thing you can really give to a dullahani to protect itself in this kind of scenario is to have them wear gorgets, specifically ones like these:

Gorget

Though they'd still be vulnerable to a well-placed attack that slips in above the gorget once their head is off. I recommend a modified gorget that has a metal 'lid' at its back that is up and open while worn and the head is on but would spring closed as soon as the head keeping it open pops off, preventing things from simply stabbing the neck through the above opening in the gorget as soon as the head is off.

Coiled springs appeared in 15th century, so this should be possible for them.

Coiled springs appeared early in the 15th century,1 in door locks.2 The first spring powered-clocks appeared in that century[2][3][4] and evolved into the first large watches by the 16th century.

Wiki - Spring(Device)

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Put a LID on it, then lock it tight.

This is a case where you need to look at the "alien" species technology being developed for them by them. If they have this glaring "touch this and I'm dead" weak spot, you bet it would be a major focus of their martial technology development.

No gorgets. They don't need to protect around their necks. Only above and below.

You cannot stab the neck portal if it is covered by a thick metal plate. Dullahan armor would have a solid plates locked to the cuirass and backplate. It is time-consuming to undo all the latches and finally reveal the neck portal. They would go to combat with the head already detached and safely locked inside the helmet, which also has a thick plate on the bottom. The helmet can lock in place over the neck plate with a series of locks and latches. To yeet an armored dullahan's head, you need way more force than just a morningstar blow.

They might lose the ability to rotate their heads to look at the sides. But no, they wouldn't go to war with either end of their necks exposed, or at a risk of being exposed. This also changes how they fight and maneuver. Instead of moving their necks to the side, they move their torsos to look around.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if losing so much mobility would be good for them, but I 100% see this being used for heavier armor. $\endgroup$
    – Atriol
    Jan 22, 2022 at 20:34
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Full plate (with related padding), since their bones can be broken. It becomes much more difficult to prevent an attacker from bypassing your armor when your arms are broken. Though the armor might not need to be quite as robust as what a human might wear, since a drullahan is already more robust in their anatomy. And like Lemming said, the Gorget is essential, and it should have an integrated (all one piece) Bevor. The pauldrons should also have tall ridges/flares/whatever they're called. I'd also recommend having the helmet fully and securely (hinged? or all-metal fasteners) attached to the bevor.

If one were to encounter this armored drullahan, and had they had their pick of weapons at hand to choose from, I'd suggest starting with a heavy hitting polearm, such as a particularly long war pick/war hammer combination. The idea being that the weight, and added length of the weapon, combined with the blunt strike area, might be used to knock them off their feet, or break bones (skulls?) "through" the armor, so that tackling and subduing them becomes easier, armor can then be bypassed or removed, followed by the fatal strike. While the spike could be used to attempt to penetrate the Gorget AND vulnerable neck portal, all in a single puncture.

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