(Apparently unboxing videos are a thing? I keep seeing these shaky hand-held phone videos of someone greedily scrabbling around elbow deep, in a poorly lit carton for something while packing peanuts cling to their terrorized cat. In our case it was “oh, that stuff you ordered for Arcane when you were hammered came in today. Weapons and, I think, something else? The box is huge. Did you order a fire pit or something?”).
The Unboxing (sigh) went well enough for the first 18 seconds. The sword looked cool. It *felt* cool. I looked good holding it, it looked good being pretend-scabbarded at my side. And then Xephyr hit me in the neck/back/shoulder/hip with the giant head of a giant goddamn mace that was, I kid you not, more than a foot in width and covered in spikes because fuck you, NPCs. Over the next several minutes there was a frenzied back and forth in our entry way, akin to driving a golf ball in a bathroom, and at least one painting was knocked off the wall. A number of things became apparent:
The Hilt of the sword was nowhere near as robust as a boffer weapon. I was concerned about it being sheared off putting it in a belt scabbard, let alone in combat. Also, the grip was all wrong. Seriously.
The Grip was all wrong. Traditional boffer fighting has taught us to hold your sword with the hilt perpendicular to the forearm. This allows it to be used to passively block forearm and shoulder shots. The reason a generic boffer sword can be held like this is that the handle is round, usually a piece of schedule 80 PVC. The latex swords have oblong handles wrapped in some faux leather. The sword, like a real sword, was designed to be held with the cutting part of the blade facing the opponent. It felt weird. Looked cool, though!
In did, in fact, look very, very cool. The paint job was better than even the plasti-dip sword that I have, all multi-tone metallic and sparkly.
The balance was ok as well. Definitely workable. The weight, however, was a different matter. This sword weighed in at, what, 2 pound?. That’s an impressive upswing from a well made ultra-light that clocks in closer to 10 ounces. This was going to cause me to seriously re-evaluate some aspects of my fighting style.
Oh, and there was an actual (not for use) pommel! Most ultra-lights have pommels and that’s where people usually grip them, to get the maximum length from the rep. With use, the pommel becomes loose and eventually has to be replaced. In this case, the pommel was a no grip zone, meaning I’d be holding it by the hilt and holding it quite firmly, I might add. The ability to “flick” and “snap” attacks was totally gone. With the weight and grip I’d have to fight in a way older-school NERO fashion, using directional attacks, feints, parries and actual momentum instead of simply sniping away. Huh.
Now the Mace. Dear gods was this thing top-heavy. The grip was round, allowing you to spin it in your hand in an alarming fashion (Xephyr knows fire spinning). Attacking with it was akin to participating in the Hammer Toss in track and field. It was purely momentum, expect for a kind-of mini-thrust poke you could do simply because it was so damn heavy.
And then there was the hitting. The head on this thing is so big that any successful hit was raining destruction down on multiple areas. Targeting went from “the shoulder” to “ the upper arm, shoulder, neck” area. Just ludicrous. I can’t possibly imagine her hitting anyone with this thing. Even the damn staircase looked concerned, and it’s made out of metal and bolted to the floor.
But it also looked so badass. In fact, when she brought it to the Ren Faire, people kept taking pictures of her holding it. She could have charged money to let people hold it; kind of like what you’d do if you had access to small child that wasn’t yours and some time to kill at the mall.