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What are piercing weapons?
There is a wide variety of piercing weapons available to adventurers, but each has a relatively similar function. These instruments of war focus the user's applied force into a sharpened, deadly point. Weapons of this nature include polearms like the lance, pike, and trident, smaller melee weapons like the rapier, short sword, and war pick, and projectiles like daggers, darts, and arrows. Regardless of the armament that an adventurer chooses, all can be tremendously dangerous in the hands of a well-trained expert.
The long shaft of polearm weapons allows their users to keep their distance while giving them the heft and power to puncture through an enemy's defenses. Handheld or melee piercing weapons allow for quick and clever concealment and pinpointed accuracy to an enemy's vital areas. Projectiles allow warriors to overwhelm their opponents from a distance, as well as the potential to damage more than one enemy at a time.
Which is the best to use?
Polearms varied wildly in appearance throughout their time on Toril, but most consisted of a long shaft made of wood or metal with a specific type of attacking implement affixed at one or both ends. Pikes were a broad category of polearm that included any weapon with a long, two-handed shaft with a fighting element at one end. Though similar to pikes, tridents have a unique three-prong, forked head and are effective both thrown and against oncoming charges. Spears are one of the simplest and oldest forms of polearms in existence. Though often made of wood, artisans may use any rigid material to create a spear's shaft. Their tips could be formed by simply sharpening the rod to a point or attaching a spearhead made from any number of sharpened substances. Javelins were thinner, more simplified versions of a spear designed for ranged combat.
Rapier's and short swords focus on thrusting and piercing attacks rather than the wild slashing efforts of most other bladed weapons. Short swords are a typical secondary weapon for many soldiers and bridge the gap between heavy longswords and an unassuming dagger. They are often double-edged with a long sharp point and used to fend off enemies in close-quarters combat. In contrast, using a rapier requires a certain amount of finesse and training due to its unique attributes. Swords of this type carry a slender blade with a sharply pointed tip, some without any cutting edge at all.
Smaller still are morning stars, war picks, and daggers. In the right hands, these more modest weapons allow for quick movements and devastatingly accurate attacks. Morning stars evolved from early spiked clubs. Refined and more finely crafted, they consist of a round metal head with long sharp spikes atop a medium-length shaft. Its largest and most menacing spike extending from the top of its head. War picks consisted of as many as two curved, heavy piercing flukes mounted upon a sturdy handle. These flukes can puncture through almost any modern armor available. Daggers are simple but effective bladed weapons that bridge the gap between melee and range. Though understated, they are widely available and easy to wield by nearly any type of adventurer.
Piercing weapons also account for many standard projectiles, including darts, needles, arrows, and bolts. Darts and needles are small sharp implements thrown by hand or blown from a blowpipe. They are often the most discrete weapons available to adventurers and can double as long-distance poison delivery devices.
Arrows and bolts come in various sizes and shapes and are used in all manner of bows and crossbows, respectively. Arrows are long, thin straight shafts with a sharpened point or tip on one end and multiple fin-like stabilizers called fletchings attached on the other. Though they can vary wildly in length, most commonly used arrows are slightly longer than an average human arm. Bolts are very similar to arrows. However, their shafts are often thicker and shorter, and their tips or heads are generally conical or pyramid-shaped.
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