I am writing a rule system for a homebrew space sci-fi tabletop RPG. As part of this process I also need to come up with gear to give my players.
My setting, with two major exceptions that don't affect melee weaponry, my setting is set in very hard science. I like things like carbon nano-tubes, and megastructures, and fusion that are understood now or theorised now but hard to do. Basically, I don't want anything that requires new science.
Other questions on this site have already dealt with the question of whether or not melee is ever viable and proven that it is in many cases. Just not usually warfare. This will be reflected in the guns being mostly superior but, due to roleplaying situations, sometimes the guns will become less viable or unavailable. Therefore, I need to give players the option of carrying, and being skilled in, melee weapons. (Or martial arts)
How would melee weaponry (like knives, brass knuckles, and shock batons) be improved in the future? And what about defences? Could we see retractable perspex-like shields? A Folded Graphene Katana? Or a shock glove that works at short ranges?
Ideally it would be something already in the works, but any idea that's plausible enough is very much appreciated.