Reddit Asked Us Anything

They asked. We replied. They shook their heads.

They asked. We replied. They shook their heads.

So, last week, the Reddit Fantasy community asked us to answer questions about us, our company, weapon and armor history, and the best ways to make fried plantains. We actually provide Reddit Fantasy’s engraved Stabby Awards, bestowed upon fantasy authors deemed worthy by the community. I have not been given one yet, but I’m certain that’s just a clerical oversight, soon to be remedied.


Mine’s coming soon, right Reddit?

These are what the Stabby Awards look like, by the way (shown at right). We provide the daggers and engravings for these. Not sure if readers are aware, but we also engrave swords for weddings (engraved tankards and daggers do well too), churches, and businesses (and just about any other occasion when you need an engraved gift). Pretty cool stuff.

But I digress. The Ask Me Anything questions on Reddit were by turns fascinating, hilarious, and absolutely insane. But we expected no less from our readers and customers. I’ve highlighted a few of the questions and posted them below. Feel free to visit our Reddit AMA to read the rest.

The Questions and answers:


The Dragonator 5000

Q: What’s the best weapon to slay a dragon with? A two-handed battle axe or a claymore? How about a chimera? Are your weapons crafted by you, or someone else? What’s the biggest weapon you’ve had someone ask for?

A: The best weapon to slay a dragon is a probably an M116 Pack Howitzer, with explosive shells. If you can’t find one, and are reduced to medieval weapons, then I would go with a pike and a good battle axe. A chimera is tricky. You need a good shield, first and foremost, and then I would probably use a good, sharp arming sword. Chimeras are quick, so an axe wouldn’t work well. A spear might be good until the chimera gets inside your range. Our weapons are made all over the world, from the US and Scandinavia, to India, the Philippines and China. Many of our weapons are made specifically for us, to our standards and measurements. As far as the biggest sword… we’ve had someone ask us for a Zweihander, which we don’t actually carry at the moment. Although we do carry our own exclusive fantasy Buster Sword.

And this is just her dagger...

And this is just her dagger…

Q: I see a great number of very improbable and awkward-looking weapons in fantasy. What, in your opinion is the worst you’ve seen, and explain why the design would be impractical for real-world application. Additionally, what is your favorite fantasy weapon and why? Finally, what do you think is the finest overall hand-held weapon in history?

A: Excellent questions. I think one of the most consistently inaccurate weapons in fantasy is the double-bladed battle axe. They look awesome, and fearsome, but, short of some Babylonian, ceremonial weapons, you don’t see them in history. Why? Well, most likely because warriors have to be efficient in battle. Why put two heavy pieces of identical steel on a staff? All you need is one good killing edge. It’s far better and lighter to put a spike or a hammer on the other side–then you have a different type of weapon, to pierce or crush armor.

My favorite fantasy weapon is the arming sword, I think. A basic knightly sword, with a 36-inch blade. I think most of us fantasy authors grew up with knights, and their swords have always held a special place in my heart.

The finest over-all hand-held weapon in history is probably the M-16 assault rifle. Kidding. The finest medieval hand-held weapon varies, depending on the situation. I think the Roman Gladius was a beautifully efficient weapon that worked masterfully for what it was intended. The pike was brilliant on the battlefield. But if we’re talking best all-around weapon, I might have to go with the poleax. An axe-blade on one side, a hammer on the back, and a spike on top. Short enough to be quick in combat, and long enough to get good leverage on a swing.

But my favorite weapon will probably always be the knightly sword.

The casebearing leaf beetle actually *does* use feces as armor.

The casebearing leaf beetle actually *does* use feces as armor.

Q:If you were going to provide armor [to] a large, large army of quasi-expendible soldiers, what would have a good cost/benefit trade-off? How would the need to provide standardized sizes for humanoids who vary wildly in body type make a difference?

A: I, personally, would cover them in feces. This would make it difficult to fight them, and would increase the shock value. And feces is an equal-body-size armor. One size fits all. If you actually want to protect them, I would go with hardened leather, assuming you are in an environment with enough animals to provide the raw material. Leather is fairly inexpensive and easy to tailor. If you have more time and money, then chainmail would be your next bet. But mail takes more time, and requires more maintenance. If you’re really cheap, then give everyone quilted gambesons. Or feces.

Q: Say I were planning to go up against the Rabbit of Caerbannog, a small yet vicious foe. What’s the best weapon to combat “sharp, pointy teeth?” (P.S. Beautiful work.)

A: Assuming you don’t have a Holy Hand-grenade around, you should have a strong shield and find a Holy Cauldron of Stewing. Thanks very much for the kind words. I’m in love with our latest line, the Esterlina Swords.

+20 Health.

+20 Health.

Q: Which sword is best suited for cutting plantains?

A: I like a nice Japanese katana. They tend to make the best cuts, and the trace of clay in the metal gives the plantains a more earthy flavor. But that’s just me…

Q: How would you go about making the best sword possible, using any kind of modern technology with an unlimited budget?

A: Hmm. Now there’s an interesting question. The great thing about modern technology is all the composite materials we have around. Stuff that is stronger than the best steel, and light as balsa wood (well, almost). Scientists are doing some groundbreaking work with nanotechnology, creating metals that are lighter and harder than anything we’ve ever seen.

For your sword, I would start with that. Nano-tech, composite metal. Make a blade that is feather-light and sharper than a razor. Use the same material for the guards. Add an ergonomic, composite grip, and a nice counterweight of your choice for the pommel. Salt to taste.


I have a placeholder until r/Fantasy gets the clerical mistake corrected and sends me my Stabby award.

Q: New life goal. Write a book so that I can get a dagger with my name engraved on it.

A: I know, right? I’ve written six. Where’s my damn Stabby? I watch them go out like a cat staring at minnows in a fishbowl..


Many more questions await your perusal at our Reddit AMA. Go have a look if you’re enjoying the banter I’ve highlighted here. Thanks for reading, and see you next time, when we interview the Strongblade sword design contest winner.



The Strongblade Free-Forge Contest Results!

SwordContestThe Strongblade Sword Design Contest was a stunning success! More than fifty brave souls offered us the results of their earthly toils– more than fifty blades to be scrutinized by peers, inspected, judged and voted on. We didn’t know quite what to expect on our first go around of this, but we were simply blown away by the enthusiasm, creativity, and mad skills that flooded our servers.

We received an incredible variety of sword, created in a plethora of different mediums. The swords were hand drawn, computer designed, carved from wood, cardboard or metal, and, in one case, sculpted from dairy-free, low-trans-fat mayonnaise. Wait. No, that last one was a dream I had.


The Gondolin Cleaver, By Zach L. One part Elven. One part Dwarf. Three parts awesome.

So, the results?

Our winner was the exquisitely designed, elven-esque short sword “Gondolin Cleaver,” by Zach L. It’s not surprising that this skillfully rendered sword received the most votes (check back soon to read an interview with Zach and his techniques for designing swords). But there were other entries that gave this one a run for its money. Lots of others! We had a brilliantly conceived rapier with flat guards. An antler-hilted sword. A dueling saber and an Irish short sword. We were treated to a lovely 17th century polish saber, a wanderer’s sword, a lethal looking falcata and a double bladed cutlass. Some of the swords had thorns, some had teeth, all had inspiration and insane creativity to them.

I wish I could speak on each and every one, but I would get nothing done for the rest of the week and this post would reach manifesto length. So I will pick out a few designs that really caught my eye, for one reason or another. Beginning with our winner…


The Gondolin Cleaver
By Zach L.

It’s not often that someone can improve on the designs of New Zealand-based WETA Studios, but Zach manged to do just that. This sword is based on a beloved blade from classical fantasy, and Zach knocked it out of the park.  Not only is the weapon elegant and beautiful, but it has a marvelous efficiency of design. The lines flow freely and with grace. There is no clutter. And note the opposing curve of the blade and the hilt. A truly gorgeous weapon, conceived and drawn by someone with enormous artistic talents. My next post will be an interview with Zach, so come back to the Strongblade Edge next week for that!


TheCourtiersBladeThe Courtier’s Blade
By Phillip T.

Full disclosure: As some of you know, I am an author of historical fiction and fantasy. The novel I am currently writing is a fantasy set in a 16th-century-ish time period. So rapiers are on my mind…

The idea of combining a flaring leaf blade from Greek swords into a rapier is a stroke of genius. The flaring tip is not so wide that it would throw off the balance, but wide enough to give the sword a real uniqueness and beauty. I do wonder if the flaring tip might not be a little superfluous on a rapier, but it certainly looks awesome. My challenge for Phillip is to come up with a sheath design…


BerserkersSeaxThe Berserker’s Seax
By Michael K.

I love the brashness of this weapon, and had fun reading Michael’s description. What’s not to like about a hand-and-a-half seax? Beautiful angles, a squat guard shaped like ravens, and a pommel sculpted to look like Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life. Great work Michael!





FragmentedBladeFragmented Blade
By Eric T.

An utterly unique design, with panels cut out from the sword. The panel shapes and positioning remind me a little of stained glass—if stained glass was made to cut you into little pieces. A beautiful juxtaposition of delicate and fierce.



DaedricDaedric Great Sword
By Simon H.

A wonderful show of fantasy craftsmanship. Simon put this sword together from cardboard. No easy feat considering the meticulously carved curves and the razored teeth on the large blade. This is a savage looking weapon, two-pronged and long-hilted. Great work.


By Russ S.

This one wins the “lethal” category, hands down. Or hands off (yeah, severed). Every inch of the sword is a killing tool. It doesn’t matter what direction an enemy comes from–only pain awaits him (or her). I imagine a gladiator using this type of sword might take wounds of his own from the pommel spikes from time to time, but what’s a little self-laceration in the face of the sheer terror of this murderous sword.




JulianDouble-Bladed Cutlass
By Julian C.

It’s a little difficult to make out all of the wonderful details of this sword, but the design is brilliantly conceived. Simple–but wide–hand guard, and a second edge on what is traditionally a back-bladed weapon. Well done, Julian.




RoyalRapierThe Royal Rapier
By Israel T.

And to close out the highlights, here’s another dazzling rapier entry. The blade is more reminiscent of a tuck, but the hilt is undeniably rapier. Beautifully color-coordinated, with brilliantly designed and drafted swept guards. Another madly talented artist, rounding out our snapshot of the entries we received.


Apologies to all the other entrants. Any one of the entries could have been highlighted in this post. They were all *that* good. In the end, we resorted to the time-tested rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) to decide between a few of the swords. If you entered the contest, please watch your inbox for an email from Strongblade (and check your spam filters, just in case).

We want to thank each and every one of you for your entry, and hope to see more entries in our next contest.

Until next time. All hail the Strongblade Forgemaster, Zach L!