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Thorn Explains: Heartswords

Thorn Explains: Heartswords published on 34 Comments on Thorn Explains: Heartswords

Juniper: Hey, Thorn, would this be a good time to tell the people a few things about heartswords?

Thorn: Sure. Why not.

Your heartsword comes from inside you. It doesn’t hurt to draw — well, not much — though it does leave this distinctive chest scar. Scientists can’t agree on whether a heartsword reflects your soul, or is your soul made manifest. Either way, your personality determines the type you’ll get . . .

Broadsword: Double-edged blade, basket-hilted. Noble-hearted idealists. Tend to be optimists.

Backsword: Straight, single-edged blade. Can be pessimists. Practical and determined.

Scimitar: Wide, curved blade. Confident, uncompromising, hold themselves to high standards.

Rapier: Narrow blade for thrusting, not cutting. Sweet, sensitive, attentive to detail.

Those are the most common types, but not the only ones! People have also drawn foils, katanas, and longswords, just to name a few. Humans are infinitely complicated, so, in theory, there should be an infinite variety of heartswords.

Rarest of all are the types that aren’t even swords! These tend to become the focus of rumors and suspicion, because you’re so unlikely to meet a wielder in person . . . .

Dagger: Short blade. Seen as sneaky, untrustworthy.

Axe: Heavy bladed head with a long sturdy handle. Seen as ruthless, cold, and prepared to use any amount of force without hesitation.

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So what sort of personality would you have to get a heartstaff?

Does Ceannic Buzzfeed have “What type of heartsword would you draw” quizzes?

Are Heart-Zweihanders a thing? …I’d imagine someone would have some difficulty drawing that out of their chest :V

I…aye yi yi, yes, that would be a difficulty…and the scar would be past their ribcage…! Can you imagine, if someone under 5’6″ had the right personality for a Zweihanders or a Zanbatō? Everyone else pulls, and they’re just flailing around trying to get the darn thing out XD They’d need to grab the blade and drag out the extra length…maybe twice, if they (or just there arms) were on the short side.

Had to look them up, and…yikes. That might be disqualified on the grounds of sheer physical impossibility, yeah.

Although the image of someone needing help from a buddy just to get their heartsword all the way out of their chest is pretty funny.

Maybe they’re what you get if you’re extremely social and good at encouraging cooperation….

It’s not any more impossible than pulling a proper-length sword out of your chest (and again, all of these should be longer!). Or an axe.

Swords don’t cut on the edge if you don’t press it, so they could pull it out be holding the blade.

Also, why not pole weapons?

Heartswords are supernaturally sharp, so touching the blade at all is a risky idea.

Glaives and scythes are possible, but represent rarer personality types, so you won’t see them as much.

To note: before you dismiss me as a sword-zealot, I DO like the story and I find it to be great writing! This does not really diminish my enjoyment of it.
This is just a pet peeve and I admit to be a grouchy little nitpicker. I do not consider myself an expert or anything like that, but I cannot help when I look at these pictures and notice them wrong.

Pole weapons constitute more than just glaives, but a large array of heads for different battlefield purposes, a variety almost as large or even larger than swords. Including spears, which is actually the most widely-used weapon in history.

Scythes are not weapons. If you actually seen a real one, you’d know that they are actually terrible as such. They were to cut grass without bending over, not people. At best, they can be hastily modified to be weapons (cheaper and faster than remaking them into proper spears).

You do not need to touch the edge to grab a sword. You can grab the flat without touching the edge. This is shown in historic combat manuals, both defensively to gain leverage to disarm an opponent (yes, it had its risks but every move in combat does) and offensively by grabbing the blade to use the sword as a spike (called “half-swording”).
And if the size can change as you note in your other comment, why not just it comes out short and grows to full size once its out?

But if its supernaturally sharp, than longer swords like rapiers (and every other sword here) should also be a mechanical problem (again, the one you drawn here is seems to be half-length! pictures of rapiers have them 3-4 times the sizes of their hilt! seriously, look at and look at the pictures!).

Actually, I’ve just tested this on myself, measuring the distance from my chest to my outstretched hand. It is far smaller distance than a sword drawn from the hip, less than half. Most of your swords seem to be cut in half because the exotic place it requires to draw them!

Also, a minor point: rapier CAN CUT! They are not chop-happy blades that you can hack off limbs, but rapiers had blades that were sharpened! To cut! They were used in a trust-heavy way but they were also used to cut.

Writing advice: Just say the swords are short when drawn out from their place and attain full size once they’re out. They’re magic anyway.

“A main gauche – a clever tongue and a deceiving visage are the hallmarks of this defensive weapon’s heart-wielder. They can be great peace-makers, or demagogues, and more likely, both, as the need arises. A main gauche-wielder’s first concern is for their personal safety and well-being. Clever politicians, and invaluable aides, when aligned with their commanders, a wise captain seeks to create a sense of unity in such a user- making the well-being of one, the well-being of all. While not the most efficient weapon, despite the natural capabilities of all Heart-blades, these daggers are a precious resource off the field, as well as solid supporters on it. Like most dagger-types, a commander should exercise both caution and discretion around a main gauche – many are reliable con men, and it’s best to focus and channel them towards ends that will not require the entire company to flee town in the middle of the night. If they can safely expand the company’s coffers, however, a blind eye may be of service on occasion. Just, not too blind an eye.”
-“On the Use of Heart-Blade Personnel: Their General Characteristics, Benefits, and Dangers,” Chapter 13: Dagger-types, pg. 257.

…well, this is epic. Is it a takeoff on something? (It sounds remarkably Discworldian…)

It is spiritually related to Discworld, probably, but it’s mainly a riff on several forms of military instruction manuals that I’ve seen – in particular, an old small units manual from the late 1950’s I borrowed off a friend. Slightly officious, awkwardly condescending, and yet clearly trying to give good advice (and possibly failing horribly XD).

Okay, Erin, I gotta ask, only because this is my all time favorite weapon. What sort of personality would birth a heart chakkar?

Clearly, that’s the heartweapon you get if you’re Xena =D


Your favorite weapon is the chakram and you’re not familiar with Xena?? Look how much you’re missing out on!

Huh. Ah, here’s the problem, that show came out in the 90s. Our tv was damaged in the move to Italy and we didn’t bother to replace it until we got back to the US, in 1999. So yeah, I missed a lot.
But about the chakkar/chakram, I used to play with those (a very blunt version, to be sure) with my neighbor, he’s a Sikh.

Eh, I didn’t watch or hear about Xena while it was airing either…but it has enduring Internet popularity, thanks to being a juggernaut of f/f fandom. Finally caught a few seasons via Netflix last year. (The leads kiss! On screen!)

Dang, whippersnapper, where have you been? We clearly need to get more leather-clad women with adorable sidekicks into your diet.

I was without a tv for most of a decade. So I played outside. With chakkars.

A chakkar is disposable weapon, you don’t rely on it solely. It’s kind of like asking what sort of personality would someone have a pilum (disposable throwing spear designed to be able to be thrown back) or grenade. Unless you can supernaturally guide it, you are severely disadvantaged fighting anyone with pretty much any other weapon.

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