Researching weapons for a fantasy novel

As a lot of us writer types realize, no matter what you write you will need to do research. As a modern woman I don’t know as much as I need about medieval and other bladed weapons. Yes I have written many a sword battle, knife fight, even a few gun battles.

With my newest Loralil novel I am in the need of something a bit more exotic. While doing battles in the other two novels I mostly stuck with bows and swords as she was fighting either humans or orcs. Now that I have herfighting with one of the cousin elven tribes I am told I need something a bit more exotic.

A fight between two elves will be more fluid, more powerful and faster, so of course their weapons should be a bit different. My hero will be sticking with her sword, because she is a swordswoman after all, but the villain she is fighting now he is something else.

But back to researching. In the old days you would need to go to a museum to see the weapon, maybe find a weapon’s master to show you how it is used or watch a lot of movies. Now we have the advantage of the internet. With things like google images for a picture, wiki for details and if you are lucky, on youtube to watch a video of the weapon being used.

Something like this nine section iron whip would be perfect for my villain

So do what you can to research weapons. Writing fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, PA or other weapon filled styles you need to have an idea what there is out there. But make sure you research how they are used. Something like the weapon I linked to above would not work with a slow moving characters, I chain whip would be pretty ridiculous with say a troll/ogre type or the huge man mountains that you find in some PA novels.

If you are writing a character who wears heavy plate armor, don’t give them a light weapon like a rapier or katana. If you are writing a character who is on the small side, like a hobbit, don’t give them a broad sword or claymore. It just doesn’t work.

Loralil, who is on the short side for an elf, uses a long sword. This site has a great list of the various sizes of swords which I find helpful

There are so many varied sites that are either selling weapons or are intellectual studies of weapons craft.  You can find a lot of information, if you just look for it.


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