Tag Archives: Assassin’s Creed

Hi! I was working on my book, and I decided that a character of mind needs to carry a concealed blade of some sort. As I was thinking through weapons, I remembered the Hidden Blade from Assassin’s Creed, and I got curious. Is that actually plausible? I have no idea how the blade is sprung, or resheathed. Anyways, if you can shine some light on that, it would be cool to know. Thanks a lot! Love this blog btw.

I’m having this weird sense of deja vu.

Anyway, joking aside, OTF (out the front) switchblades are real. The actual mechanical structure of the hidden blades are possible with modern technology. Someone carrying around a self cleaning OTF knife in 1191? That’s less likely.

But, Jack Bauer carrying a Microtec HALO III in early 2000s LA? That’s a real knife you can buy. Or could when 24 was in it’s first couple seasons. I think the HALO III, specifically, was discontinued.

The biggest problem with Assassin’s Creed is just that the hidden blades would gunk up with organic material. The games say the blades are self cleaning, which would imply some pretty ridiculously tight mechanical tolerances. Which is possible, but not likely. In setting, I’ve always been under the impression that the hidden blades were based on First Civilization technology, but otherwise they’re anachronistic, for what they’re capable of, and the eras they’re used in. In the real world, you probably want to wipe the knife off after using it, before retracting it, though that’s usually good advice for any blade you just buried in someone.

As for spring assisted collapsing knives, I literally have a Hoffman Richter HR-15 about six inches from my hand right now. So, it’s reasonable to say, “yes, these things do exist.”

Collapsible knives can be easily concealed in almost any pocket. Ones with belt clips can be attacked to the cuff of a jacket or shirt just as easily, though they will hang a little strangely.

I honestly prefer non-powered lockblade knives, because they’re quieter, and easier to collapse one handed. Most OTF knives require two hands to rearm. That said, some do have push button recharge mechanisms, so it’s not a universal truth.

You can buy, or make, OTF knives that will behave like the hidden blade in Assassin’s Creed. Though, it’s also worth pointing out, those may run you afoul of local weapons laws, depending on where you live.


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Is there a realistic analog to fighting with weapons attached to the forearm? (i.e. Wolverine’s claws in x-men, or the Hidden Blades of Assassin’s Creed?) I realize these examples are entirely fiction, but is such a weapon remotely feasible in reality?

The hidden blades aren’t. We’ve actually talked about the Assassin’s Creed franchise a few times before. The basic idea of shiving a guy, and then palming the knife and walking off? Yeah. That works. The idea of strapping said blade to your arm? Not so much.

Especially not in Renaissance Italy, when people would conceal daggers on their forearms, and handshakes were specifically used to make sure the person you were meeting wasn’t about to perforate your kidney.

The phrase, “a knife up your sleeve” used to be a lot more literal.

The biggest problem with Wolverine’s claws is… where the hell does he keep them? They’re substantially longer than his hands, so they need to start in his forearms, and then extend through his wrists, which means his wrist needs to be perfectly aligned when he tries to extend them. It also opens the question to, “how do these stay in place while extended?” Structurally, that’s more weight than the bones in your hand are designed to support, so either his hands would need to be substantially different, physiologically, or it’s running on Chris Claremont logic.

That said, both of these designs get at weapons that are, more or less, real. Punch daggers are weapons where the grip is set, perpendicularly, behind the blade. They’re designed to be held in a closed fist, with the blade protruding between the middle and ring finger (though other configurations exist). They can deliver more force on impact than a common knife design. The most famous example of this design is probably the katar from India.

These are not normally attached, directly to the wrist, but allow similar strike patterns while offering slightly more flexibility in their use.

In the case of Wolverine, his claws somewhat resemble the Bagh Naka (or “tiger claws”) which also originates from India. This consists of several hooked claws mounted on a bar which is held in the hand, while the blades protrude between the fingers (or, with some designs, from the palm). In some circumstances this would appear like a much shorter, curved, version of wolverine’s claws. These are used to support several hand to hand techniques that involve raking the opponent with the blades.


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This might sound stupid, but what would be the most conventional way to use a blade/knife attached to your arm in close combat? Like the hidden blade in assassin’s creed (By the way I realy like your blog, this is my first time doing something like this, so it might sound very very stupid)

I know we’ve talked about the hidden blades before. The short version is: they’re fictional weapons. As far as either of us have been able to find, there’s no actual historical basis for them, and as a result, there’s no techniques designed to employ them.

Using them as a point blank shiv is mostly plausible. At least for Altair, for Ezio and the later assassins, not so much. The handshake actually originated as a kind of quick weapon check. “Did that dude stash a knife up their sleeve?” With Ezio, the answer is always “yup.” Followed by, “okay, so I guess we stab him?” This leads to rather obvious issues when Ezio is trying to shank someone… or playing Venetian Batman. Because an assassin’s job is to save people’s lives? Either way.

Actually using it as a weapon in combat, like every Assassin’s Creed game after the first? Not so much. The blade is too short. This is a function of the concealment method. This forces your wrist into a dangerous position, which will result in serious injury to the user. No single point of this can be changed without abandoning the concealable element. I would honestly worry about knocking the blade out of it’s track when parrying an incoming strike or with any slashing strike that connected with something solid, like armor, walls, or the victim’s bones.

This is actually a larger issue with any kind of worn melee weapon. If it’s damaged, you can’t just drop it, you need to waste time taking it off, mid-fight, before you can use that arm again. Compared to a katar, where if the blade was seriously seriously damaged, you could just drop it, and grab whatever improvised debris was convenient. This is still a bad situation, but it’s less likely to be lethal.

The moving parts, and retracting blade, all add new potential points of failure. We actually see a hidden blade get slagged at the beginning of Black Flag, so this is a problem that even occurs in setting.

As an assassination tool, they’re still just this side of plausible. Particularly in a modern setting, but I’m not convinced you could safely fight with them. But, that’s Assassin’s Creed for you: Dan Brown bombed out of his skull on mescaline.


The bit in your recent post on infiltration reminded me of the Hitman series (Suit and tie). In that vein, I had a question: Just how accurate to actual infiltration techniques are those games?

Hitman’s a mixed bag at pretty much every level. It takes effective tactics like using dead drops to get weapons past a security cordon and tosses it into a universe with a peculiar kind of obliviousness where no one asks why the chef suddenly grew six inches and lost all his hair, and looks curiously like that homicidal madman that just offed a bunch of bodyguards. But that guy wasn’t a chef, so it’s must be okay.

The worst part is, the more they tweak the AI, the weirder it gets. In Absolution’s NPCs will spot 47 if he’s disguised as them, or more specifically disguised as someone with the same outfit. Which actually makes a certain kind of sense; if 47’s screwing up any part of his disguise, they’d be the ones to notice. But then 47 will disguise himself as a chipmunk, clown, ice cream vendor or whatever, and none of the guards, cops, or janitors will realize anything’s amiss.

The actual practice of passing yourself off as someone who’s “supposed to be there”, yes, Hitman’s one of the few game series that actually uses disguises and social camouflage as a core mechanic. Someone else mentioned the original Assassin’s Creed as another example. But, Hitman immediately lapses into a weird almost parody, with those mechanics, where the best way to hide is in the most absurd way possible.


In a real world and a fictional world perspective, how effective are clawed gloves? Such as gauntlets with claws attached to them. Think Wolverine-type claws.

Somewhat. Tiger Claws are a real punch weapon, though they aren’t just gloves. From what I know, they are effective, but not particularly versatile.

I’ll be honest, neither of us are trained in their use nor in any style that uses them, so we could be wrong about some details.

Real tiger claws are small hooked blades mounted to a cylinder, plate or glove. The cylinder and plate versions are gripped in a closed fist, with the blades protruding. With a plate, the fingers will be hooked through the weapon, somewhat like brass knuckles, and the blade position will be fixed to the hand. On a cylinder, the blades are fixed, but the weapon itself can be rotated to conceal the blades along the arm until the last moment. (I think they’re related to the katar, but don’t quote me on that.)

Either version can make for a very nasty surprise against an opponent who thinks the wielder is unarmed.

I’m not sure about the gloves, these are either blades on the fingers, or braced across a plate on the back of the hand. Though, obviously, you’re sacrificing the element of surprise either way.

If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have said you couldn’t combine the back of the hand versions with retractable blades, though, of course, someone just did that. I have absolutely no idea how solid those are in an actual combat situation, and I wouldn’t recommend trying it.

That said, you can make a gauntlet where the blades remain fixed above the wrist. This would result in a blade gauntlet like you see the hunters use in the Predator films, or in a weapon like the hidden blade in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Both would actually favor surprise strikes, where your character appears to be unarmed and dispatches their enemy before they realize they’re armed.

In general short blades favor surprise attacks, ritualized dueling and dealing with unarmed opponents. I’d be inclined to say tiger claws, and any other worn weapons actually favor facing unarmed opponents more heavily, because it’s much harder to get the weapon away from it’s wielder.

Unless your character has the proportional strength, agility, and homicidal inclinations of an enraged, burrowing, mammal, they’re not going to be using their claws the way Wolverine does. But, we’re talking about one of the most egregiously overpowered characters in a setting that’s stuffed to the ever loving gills with overpowered characters, and that’s all part of the charm.


Aside from Lord of the Rings what movies/books have good depictions of sword or knife fights?

Anything involving Bob Anderson as the swordmaster or fight coordinator. That includes all three Lord of the Rings films, the Pirates of the Caribbean films, the Antonio Banderas Zorro films, the Highlander TV series, and a lot of Errol Flynn films.

Also you should check out the ARMA instructional videos. They’re useful for providing a functional understanding of sword fights you’ll need to write them.

For using swords, my first thought is actually Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books. The fight scenes themselves aren’t that useful, but there’s some solid information scattered through the books.

We’ve got a couple questions pending about knife fights, but the short version is: they don’t happen. At least not the way they’re presented on film or in books. Knife fights are about shanking someone and wandering off, to the point that the hidden blade kills in the original Assassin’s Creed are about the extent of “realistic” knife fighting.

The best source on knives is probably from Michael Janich. He’s developed quite a bit on the subject. It’s not going to historically appropriate, but for using knives in a modern context, it should be helpful.


I have a character who works as a hitman, and he keeps a knife of the “stomp and it pops out” variety in the toe of his shoe for emergencies. I’ve seen this used by a lot of inventive, wildcard characters (the Joker, mostly) but I wanted to ask how useful it would really be. It seems like it’d be handy for surprising a combatant but a potential hazard if deployed incorrectly.

If you’re trying to do a serious setting, the Joker is not your friend. He tends to warp the DCU’s already flexible concept of “realistic” into Loony Toons territory.

If you’re going for a comic book style setting, or a cheesy gadget filled superspy setting, knock yourself out. But, if you’re wanting to go for a more serious setting, then the laser watches, and knife boots are out.

There have been some attempts to make spring loaded surprise weapons, but none of them ever really worked. I’d take Assassin’s Creed’s hidden wrist blade over mounting one in your boot, that’s just goofy. Those aren’t particularly realistic either, but they’re just this side of plausible, and fans have rigged up a few working ones.


Reminder: Real Pirates Were Awful

Reminder: Real Pirates Were Awful