Melee weapons for monster hunting?

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Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-02-06 10:37am

So for our 7th Sea RP, I am getting a monster-hunting Eisen, a not-German not-Witcher, in not-Poland. And I was wondering, what would be adequate monster-hunting melee weapons?

I don't want to use a zweihander since that's too cliche and another friend has had a zweihander/huge-sword wielding Germanian in a previous not-7th Sea game (Dragon Age).

So aside from ranged weapons, i.e. crossbows, and beyond-arm's-length hunting spears (that were IRL apparently used vs. bears)... would a close-in fallback of a messer(some kind of saber) + shield be alright? I'm presuming monstrosos don't have armor or weapons, they're not orcs or darkspawn, so a simple hacking weapon might suffice... and if one is primarily wielding a spear then the great knife/saber would be a less-unwieldy fallback than a giant zweihander?

I'm trying to be a bit of a hipster and my RL background is more into machete/hacking type instruments than giant full-length swords...

(And I presume team mates will have the ranged fighting aspect covered since fighting monsters alone sounds stupid...)
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-06 10:51am

From past discussions and my own limited knowledge of the subject, my mind goes to the pole-ax or halberd, but maybe that's a bit of a longer reach than what you're looking for.

Really, though, it'll depend on what you're fighting.

Edit: Basically, if I were going to be fighting a monster, without knowing the specific type of monster, I'd probably want something that is fairly versatile, relatively easy to use, has long reach to keep the thing from getting close, and can decapitate (because if beheading it won't stop it, it probably doesn't matter much what melee weapon I use).
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-02-06 10:57am

I'm asking for what kind of swordy thing I can use as a fallback after the spear/halberd.

But yeah, different monsters will require different weapons. I'm not gonna bring a spear to a sewer level.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Crazedwraith » 2017-02-06 11:03am

Falchion might be a good idea. Basically a machete with a cross guard. Manoeuvrable like a sword, cuts like an axe.

eta: *googles* it basically the same as the messer according to wiki.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-02-06 11:05am

depends on the monsters obviously but I'd think axes or maces would be preferble to swords when dealing with something that's close to a human in terms of size and durability, anything signifigantly bigger then humans spear or a other polearm is a must and if you need a back a quick acting poison vial is your best bet, not for the monster but to kill yourself as quickly and painlessly as possible, as you sword style weapon meant for to be used on a human would be useful here.

Look at what was used by hunters when hunting bears, lions, tigers, rhinos elephants or similar large and dangerous animals and extrapolate from here.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-06 11:08am

Yeah, I was thinking ax, although if his heart is set on a sword, the Falcion sounds promising.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-02-06 11:20am

An ax sounds promising. That's why I was thinking of the machete-like messer too.

Can one carry a spear and an axe at the same time? Cause I was thinking of the fallback when the spear/halberd can't be used anymore...

Can a person carry an ax as the primary weapon AND a messer as a fallback?

And man, one can totally say "I am gonna messer you up!" :D
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-02-06 11:38am

The axe doesn't have to be a battle-axe, it could be a tool axe for making traps or firewood which can also be used as weapon in a emergency.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Kingmaker » 2017-02-06 11:46am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:An ax sounds promising. That's why I was thinking of the machete-like messer too.

Can one carry a spear and an axe at the same time? Cause I was thinking of the fallback when the spear/halberd can't be used anymore...

Can a person carry an ax as the primary weapon AND a messer as a fallback?


There are different kinds of axes (as I'm sure you're aware). A pollaxe (or a dane-axe, if you want to go a bit earlier and simpler with the design) is a pole arm, so not especially suited to use as a sidearm. On the other hand, there are plenty of comparatively small axes that are meant to be used one-handed. And, of course, there are throwing axes like Franciscas.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-02-06 12:09pm

Key here is not to think of the monster as warrior you need to fight against but a prey you need to hunt. As long as the monster doesn't catch up and kill you (or injure you so badly you can't go on) you can always reset and try again. Also you don't have formally declare your presense to the monster before attacking, in fact I'd say that a hunter who intentionally alerts the prey to his presense due an "honor code" is a moron. Now to alert a prey to your presense to lure them into a trap that's perfectly valid tactic. Warriors/soldiers carry a main weapon and a single back mainly due the fact that they know that after the first enemy there will be more, while a hunter doesn't need to limit his weapons to just 2 as he can isolate his prey if need be and it's generally easier for a hunter to back down and rest for a while then for a warrior to do the same. Most large mosters don't seem to form packs anyway so you'd probably find only handful at most at a single location most likely just 1.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-02-06 12:40pm

These are RPG monsters though so it's not going to be just "chuck a spear at boar/bear" and wait the beastie out to bleed to death.

I guess I'm overthinking things and "monster" is rather vague. A big bear-sized beastie or frogman will require different tools from some harpy-like monster or murmaider and, of course sewer-dwelling or castle-dwelling beastie in confines that would make halberds moot and would require axe+shield.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Formless » 2017-02-06 01:11pm

In real life, it really does mostly come down to spears being the melee weapon of choice for hunting. Most animals have far, far more of the type of muscle that gives you power in small bursts; whereas it seems that because those muscles and the tendons attached to them tend to get injured a lot, humans ended up being given lots of the other type of muscle by evolution, which gives you less power but for longer periods of time. That's why its generally a bad idea for a human to wrestle with, well, any of the other animals in the animal kingdom, and why we prefer to stay as far away as possible. However, hunting with a spear isn't necessarily a boring thing: neanderthals didn't throw spears, yet they hunted mammoths of all things. Lots of male neanderthal skeletons have wrist injuries suggesting that they would actually stab the animal and then ride the spear for dear life. Just imagining it makes me laugh at how rediculous it must have looked; and alternatively, just how pants fillingly exciting/terrifying it must have been.

Having said all that, it is also true that hunting swords are a thing and the Germans in particular liked to use them to finish off wild boar. Generally it would be the head hunter who had the sword, like a nobleman or something, and most of the time it would just stay there at your side unless you got attacked by brigands or something (probably how the practice got started). Pinning down the animal was done by hunting dogs (because dogs are extremely useful for that kind of thing, much more common than in fiction) and spears, but the sword can stab a lot deeper than a boar spear and reach the animal's heart easier.

As for other weapons, a pole hammer might be particularly appropriate for any kind of fantasy monster with a thick hide or carapace. A big spike on a pole is pretty much intended to pierce armor. You can also use a hook on a spike to pry scales off a dragon or other such animal: the youtuber Lindybeige has a video where he talks about a RPG campaign where his NPC's used such a fantasy weapon to show up the players in front of a town when they failed to kill the monster themselves. Polearms are also appropriate because of their sheer leverage, after all.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-02-06 01:47pm

Pole-axe might be suitable. There's a theory that the 'poll' of the axe is actually the *spike* backing the axe or hammer. Said spike would be very handy for cracking armour, and the whole length of the weapon tends to be less than the handler is tall-- so confined spaces aren't as much of an issue, and in fact these weapons seem to have been favored for combat in hallways and doorspaces.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Solauren » 2017-02-06 02:26pm

if you are using rules where the weapon can get caught in the monster, go with a big heavy metal club.

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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Zixinus » 2017-02-06 02:41pm

I have thouht about this before.

General answer: polearms. The boar-spear is a classic for a reason. Even one-handed spears can work. If you have armor and other variables, poleaxes and warhammers and other stuff is also useful. Seriously, there is as large variety in pole weapons as in hand weapons. Yuu want distance and leverage.

Shields may also work up to a point. I am unsure about this point, because I think you can use them strapped to the forearm and I saw pictures of lion hunters being spear & shield.

If you want a better answer, you need to specify the monster. If the monster is etheral and can fly and/or go trough walls, you want something one-handed to get out on a moment's notice and be of a material that can actually hurt the thing (typically silver, but really that requirement is more important than the type of weapon). If the monster does not feel pain and has no blood (say, undead skeleton), you want impact weapons like hammers and maces to brake bones. If the monster is tool-using, you want a shield. If the monster is aquatic you want harpoons and knives. If the monster is larger than an elephant, you want large, long spears and a lot of thought on your approach (although, you want that with all monsters and big game really).

would a close-in fallback of a messer(some kind of saber) + shield be alright? I'm presuming monstrosos don't have armor or weapons, they're not orcs or darkspawn, so a simple hacking weapon might suffice... and if one is primarily wielding a spear then the great knife/saber would be a less-unwieldy fallback than a giant zweihander?


Disclamaier: I'm not an experienced swordfigher, I just listen to a few HEMA videos.

The primary reason to have a shield is to have a weapon against the enemy's weapon. It may be of some use against monsters. Just keep in mind that shields are not mobile walls, but things meant to occupy the enemy's weapon while you do your work with yours.
Maasai warriors use spear and shield traditionally, so there must be a point. I would imagine that a shield is something to put between you and the animal for a moment, which can save a life.

A messer is a cutting sword (my insight about swords: there may be a lot of types but generally the differences are not that big as video games made them out to be).
If the monster has some kind of thick skin, an axe would be prudent. They usually have spikes on the other side of the head for piercing deep in too.

A sword is not the worst, but with a fight with an animal, but if you are not dueling then you want to strike first, and strike both hard and accurately (a heart-shot) rather than any protracted fight. A sword generally wins against other melee weapons because it can outmaneuver other weapons due to it having a continuous (and in some cases, double) edge that allows quicker strikes (no need to gather momentum). A sword edge can easily be lethal to a human but not so much to something that is substancially tougher.

A two-handed sword, a real giant sized ones, are more special polearms that can be sort-of wielded like swords. They are not as unwieldy as they seem (they can range from 1.5kg to just under 5kg and are fairly quick due to how they are balanced). If a sword works at all, a two-handed sword would too and probably even better. That said, I'd carry a one-handed axe and a large dagger as a backup and in case of tight quarters. So a messer is not a bad idea if you have a polearm.

I'm trying to be a bit of a hipster and my RL background is more into machete/hacking type instruments than giant full-length swords...


A hipster would use a polearm because everyone else is using swords. Seriosly, in fiction it seems everyone monster-hunter is using swords. Which makes sense when the mosnter is basically a humanoid but not so much when, say, its a dragon.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Lord Revan » 2017-02-06 03:32pm

Even if the monster was humanoid you'd probably want a polearm unless you're attacking things like elves, hobbits or similar creatures that are essentially as strong as humans but with something like a vampire or another creature to that can toss you around like you were a ragdoll you'd want as much range as humanly possible, so for melee weapons that would mean a polearm of some sort.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-02-06 03:42pm

Yeah... apart from the weapons:

Hunting IRL tends to involve a few specific practices:

--Long distance attacks. Either impersonal-- traps, snares, etc-- or personal (thrown spears, archery, crossbows, guns). Poison can be part of such attacks.

--Using a stand or blind of some kind ('still-hunting'). You wait for the animal to come to you. It helps to be familiar with the animal's practices and to have incentives to lure the animal in closer. Typically you see ranged weapons used here. The other kind of hunting where you track down the animal tends to get into...

--Getting up close and personal: this is when you want to be really sure you've got a serious advantage on the animal you're confronting, *especially* when it's a dangerous animal. There is a reason why traditional European boar-hunting uses dogs, after all-- they're extra targets for the pig to focus on, and you can train them to control the pig by either herding it or grabbing it and clamping on. From horseback isn't unheard of, either. There are some lunatics (mostly in Texas, I think) who use big-ass knives to hunt boar, but they still use dogs to catch the boar. Traditionally, if clinching at close range with a large/dangerous animal, spears are definitely called for. Some way to restrain the animal is also recommended-- ropes, lassos, nets, etc-- especially if said animal is capable of flight or has multiple avenues of attack such as a fanged head on a long neck above big claws... if you're on your own? Armor. And, obviously, try not to tackle the animal entirely by yourself. That tends to end badly without firearms (and often enough still does even with guns).
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Zixinus » 2017-02-06 04:27pm

A minor suggestion: if you want something a little bit fancier, look into kukris. They are between a sword and and an axe (you can chop wood with them, I own one). The bend is there to provide extra leverage and it is usually a pretty chop-happy knife, supposedly able even to behead people. There are varities (on just that link I gave you) for different uses, some short, some long, some meaty and strong enough to use as a pry-bar while some light, thin and well-balanced for martial-art use, plus the classic army issue one that is good for both. It is even possible to stab with them well, although not with as much precision as a dagger.

If you want something to stand out a bit, this is good choice due because it visually stands out and unique description. And since its a RPG, the stats will decide things rather than actual weapon choice.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-02-06 09:00pm

As far as polearms go, the default should be something like a bill, simple but with a large blade. Spearpoints may or may not be useful, generally more elaborate polearms are highly tailored to specific tactical ideas and were intended for fencing and hooking actions probably not to be used against a large monster.

Carrying more then two serious weapons is highly unlikely, and not really logical, if you need more then two weapons you needed better weapons from the get go most likely, and are really dead.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Q99 » 2017-02-06 10:56pm

It depends a bit on the nature of your monsters too, how tough they are, and so on. I do like the kukri suggestion, it'd be solid for chopping into tough hides.

Stabbing weapons may be a bit underestimated here. Something with a good point and no edge will let you get a *fatal* blow fast if you hit something vital, probably more-so than a slashing weapon. You may want to consider something that's basically a spike you drive into monsters. Can double as a 'stab into monster and hold on while it tries to throw me off,' thing too.


And hey, Rapiers were used in bullfights, after all.

Though a polearm is really what I'd do too...

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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-02-06 11:53pm

Thing is with any deep stabbing attack, your probably going to loose your weapon if its a decent, say horse sized, monster in the process. So either its a kill wound or the monster kills you while your spear is stuck in its side, then may or may not die later.So if that's your approach you need to know the monster will just attack you head on and make that easy to impale it. If the monster fights back with its own tactics then your probably not going to be able to stab it deeply with any ease, and that's where the chopping and cutting stuff comes into play.

If the ground is open enough the real thing to do would just be a lancer on horseback.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby LaCroix » 2017-02-07 07:21am

Primary would be a polearm of some stabby kind - spear or better, billhook/hooked partisan (can be used to pull as well, more versatile) that can used alone or with a shield. You dont want halberds or pollaxes, for they need to be swung. That will mean you may not use it properly in a wood or cave. A spear works pretty much everywhere, that's why we still use it (bayonet on rifle). The most effective weapon ever designed.

Shield is a basic thing. It can be used offensively to bash, and do fancy tricks, but that is something for fighting an intelligent armed contrahend. For hunting monsters, primarily it is something to put between you and the monster when it jumps/slashes/bites at you.

Melee weapons, you might need two.
First, a hand and half arming sword. Weight about 3 pounds (1.2 to 1.5 kg), gives you a meter of reach, can be used with one hand and shield, or with two hands. Can cut well on both edges, and you can thrust well. Thrusting is important against animals - you can keep further away from their attacks. For that reason, axes are bad. You can only swing them effectively, and they have a habit of getting stuck on things and opponents.

Secondary melee is a shorter blade, not unlike a machete or messer, 60cm or less blade length. Easy to use in a bind when you can't use the longer blade or spear.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-02-07 10:21am

LaCroix wrote:Secondary melee is a shorter blade, not unlike a machete or messer, 60cm or less blade length. Easy to use in a bind when you can't use the longer blade or spear.


A Landesknecht katzbalger would be the thing here, I think. A finely honed, short but extremely sharp chopping blade. It does lack a significant point for thrusting, but apparently that's not a huge problem if your tip is sharp enough...
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby LaCroix » 2017-02-07 10:26am

Elheru Aran wrote:
LaCroix wrote:Secondary melee is a shorter blade, not unlike a machete or messer, 60cm or less blade length. Easy to use in a bind when you can't use the longer blade or spear.


A Landesknecht katzbalger would be the thing here, I think. A finely honed, short but extremely sharp chopping blade. It does lack a significant point for thrusting, but apparently that's not a huge problem if your tip is sharp enough...


They served the same purpose - you are in close range of an enemy, too close to use your main weapon (polearm or gun in case of the Landsknechte). You have no space/time to draw a long blade in that situation. That's why Katzbalger were worn in a catskin scabbard (Katzenbalg). The fur (supposedly) ensured it could be drawn very quickly with little chance of getting stuck/snagged.

At their time, full plate was a rare thing dying out, most only had breastplates and/or some mail. So a dedicated armor-piercer was no longer needed, for the armor gaps were bigger. Chopping at necks and limbs worked fine, and you could slide that tip under a breasplate just as easily.
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Re: Melee weapons for monster hunting?

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-02-07 11:29am

LaCroix wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:
LaCroix wrote:Secondary melee is a shorter blade, not unlike a machete or messer, 60cm or less blade length. Easy to use in a bind when you can't use the longer blade or spear.


A Landesknecht katzbalger would be the thing here, I think. A finely honed, short but extremely sharp chopping blade. It does lack a significant point for thrusting, but apparently that's not a huge problem if your tip is sharp enough...


They served the same purpose - you are in close range of an enemy, too close to use your main weapon (polearm or gun in case of the Landsknechte). You have no space/time to draw a long blade in that situation. That's why Katzbalger were worn in a catskin scabbard (Katzenbalg). The fur (supposedly) ensured it could be drawn very quickly with little chance of getting stuck/snagged.

At their time, full plate was a rare thing dying out, most only had breastplates and/or some mail. So a dedicated armor-piercer was no longer needed, for the armor gaps were bigger. Chopping at necks and limbs worked fine, and you could slide that tip under a breasplate just as easily.


Aye; if he's going up against armoured beasties, and he needs a blade that can get through that armour... well, if he gets THAT close to the monster I'm not sure there's much he can do, and I would probably just go with a long ballock- or roundel-dagger of some kind. Perhaps one with a thick diamond-section point.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.


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