Tag Archives: bloodborne

Q&A: Bloodborne’s Rakuyo

Quick question- was the Rakuyo from Bloodborne modeled after a real life weapon? I’ve seen similar designs in other things. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s pretty much a sword, with a partially hollow hilt that you can attach/detach another knife in.

The blade itself is based off of a Japanese military sabre. To be clear, I’m talking about the primary blade, not the detachable dagger. The second detachable blade is something of From’s own creation (or it’s a Berserk reference.) The second blade may be based off a 19th century Japanese bayonet, but that’s mostly an educated guess.

Spiked pommels are quite real. When fighting in quarters too close to strike with a sword, bringing your pommel down on your foe’s face is a valid tactic, and spiked pommels build off this idea. I can’t remember seeing a full dagger attached to a pommel before, but the idea isn’t particularly strange.

As a detachable weapon? Not that I’ve ever seen. In general, Bloodborne‘s weapons are implausibly complex, to the point that most simply wouldn’t function in the real world. There are a few exceptions: While real Pallasches didn’t incorporate firearms, combining a single shot firearm onto a sword wasn’t, completely, unheard of in the 17th and 18th centuries (which is when the Pallasch dates to.)

The “least” realistic trick weapons in Bloodborne tend to be the ones that are articulated or include detachable components. Things like the Threaded Cane, the Kirkhammer, Ludwig’s Holy Blade, or the Blade of Mercy, would all be grossly impractical or impossible to produce. The guys at Baltimore Knife and Sword made a replica of the Saw Cleaver, which illustrates a lot of the engineering challenges inherent in trying to replicate Bloodborne‘s weapons. You can find the youtube video here.

The game is a, literally, a nightmare, as the various characters attempt to deal with elder cosmic gods, of the Lovecraft variety, so the fantastical elements blended into the gothic art style do serve a legitimate purpose. The melee weapons are, without exception, an extension of this concept. They’re twisted, vicious, creations, designed to tear people (and monsters) apart in singularly unpleasant ways. That many of these same weapons are wielded against you by bosses and other hunters just cements the horror.

That said, the idea that someone would have taken a Japanese Guntō and attached a bayonet in a reverse grip isn’t completely insane, while the bayonet’s locking lugs could still allow a quick release option, converting the weapon back into two distinct pieces. I mean, it’s possible, and in comparison to some of the other weapons in Bloodborne, it’s almost plausible. Would it work? Probably not. I doubt it would hold up in combat. But, this would be relatively easy to rig up as a display piece.

So, the short version is, you could make one you’d use for cosplay, but making one that would actually work as a combat weapon is a lot more questionable.


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

Q&A: Trick Weapons

So how practical would a transforming Melee weapon (i.e. Bloodborne) be? And in case you don’t know, I means specifically something that can switch between a closer, faster attack and a longer, slower attack.

The idea of a slow heavy attacks is a video game concept. In real combat, dealing with real people, large ponderous strikes are an invitation to be disemboweled.

That said, there is some truth to what Bloodborne does, and it’s worth keeping in mind. Adjusting the way you use your weapon to deal with threats at different ranges is a very real practice. One of the most obvious examples is the practice of pommel bashes with a sword.

A pommel bash is used when you’re too close to use the blade, so instead you’ll simply drive the butt of your sword into your opponent’s face in a downward strike.

Another example is shifting your grip on an axe or polearm. At longer ranges, you benefit from having your grip closer to the butt of the shaft, but in closer combat, you may migrate your hands towards the head, to allow for tighter strike patterns.

This means there’s a few hunters weapons that aren’t something you’d normally want to do, but might work with mythical materials (given you’re reinforcing them with blood stones, the Hunters’ weapons are probably made from something other than conventional materials). This means the telescopic Hunter’s Axe may be a functional option. Normally, you wouldn’t want a telescopic melee weapon, but whatever the thing is constructed from might be hard enough to make this workable.

There’s also a few trick weapons that, might, be viable, if you could actually engineer the things to work. I’m thinking specifically of the Threaded Cane, which transitions from a metal walking stick, into a kind of articulated whip with serrated blades along the cable. There’s basically no way to make one, especially since the core appears to operate “intelligently,” (it has a fixed resting position, unlike a real whip) but it would result in a vicious melee weapon. (In fairness, all of the From games have whips that return to fixed resting positions, so this might not be an intentional function of the Threaded Cane.)

The Moonlight Sword is another example of a weapon that is, basically, viable. It’s a FromSoft standard, and has popped up in every release since Armored Core (I think), but the Bloodborne version is an entirely functional, impossible, weapon. It’s a normal sword, that when transformed creates a magical, energy blade over the physical one. This can be used as a sword, or generate ranged attacks. Like I said, this is entirely viable.

There’s two varieties of trick weapons in Bloodborne that simply don’t work. The hinged ones are, primarily an engineering problem. So, that’s the Saw Cleaver, Saw Spear, and Beasthunter Saif, and probably a few others I’m forgetting. In most cases, the basic design is workable, but the problem is that the hinge would result in a serious structural weakness, rendering the weapon unusable. As with the Hunter’s Axe, this probably isn’t an issue for the specific examples in Bloodborne, but it would be an issue with conventional materials. Also, as with God of War, it’s worth remembering that Bloodborne is a character action game, so the overall scale and proportions would need to be adjusted.

The second are weapons that convert their sheath into another weapon. The Kirkhammer and Ludwig’s Holy Blade both convert this way. The problem is, there’s really no way to make this work. Your character would, effectively, be carrying two weapons. You’d also be be relying on the outer weapon not flying off in combat. Depending on exactly how they lock together, this could be a serious issue.

Ironically, sprinkled through all of this is one real weapon. As in, flat out, “these existed.” The Reiterpallasch is a saber with a mounted firearm. While I’m not sure if any pallasches were fitted with firearms, light blades with attached firearms did see actual use in the 17th and 18th century, particularly in naval boarding actions, where simply having a gun in your hand, in addition to your blade had real utility.

On the whole, sword mounted guns quickly became a historical oddity. They were very situational, and not particularly useful, but they did briefly exist.


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

With the upcoming North American release of Dark Souls III, I wondered if you all knew of the series and how you felt about the accuracy of their weapon wielding. I realize there are a lot of fantastic elements about some of the weapons themselves, and a necessary assumption of unnatural levels of strength for others, but do you think they did a good job in portraying the handling of the medieval weapons in the games?

I haven’t spent a lot of time looking at Dark Souls III specifically, so I can’t speak to it in particular detail. In general, the previous Souls games have had a focus on large movements that make it easier to interpret and interact with what’s happening on screen.

This makes the games play better, but it’s not realistic. There’s two reasons for this. First, actual armed combat is shockingly lethal with little to no warning. As lethal as Dark Souls is, it does not capture just how dangerous these weapons are, when handled correctly. Second, you’re viewing the game from across the room, on a screen. This means the small movements that are critical tells in an actual melee would be impossible to see on screen.

For example, the Broadsword’s move-set in 1 and 2, use wide strike arcs. In real combat, you would never want to do this, because it would tell your opponent exactly where the strike is coming from, and give them time to block it. It would also leave you incredibly open to incoming attacks, which can, and does, happen in Dark Souls.

Generally speaking, in Dark Souls, a weapon’s move set is far more important than the item’s actual stats. There are ways to work around poor base damage, but a bad moveset can’t be fixed. The game groups most weapons into various classes. Straight swords, Thrusting Swords, Halberds, Bows, Whips, Ultra Greatswords… no, that is one of the weapon classes. Weapons in a class will usually share most of their moveset, with a few variations. In Dark Souls the Longsword and Broadsword have a basically identical move set except for one heavy attack. Thing is, this is an entirely artificial system, and has nothing to do with how actual combat works. It makes for interesting game play options, but unless there’s an actual mechanical limitation with a weapon (like the Estoc), it’s not something you’ll see in the real world.

The move sets are also not incredibly representative of how individual weapons are actually wielded. The Lucerne and Estoc come to mind. The Lucerne was a 15th century warhammer with a beak on the reverse edge (for pulling away shields, hooking into riders and dragging them down, and other similar utility functions). In Dark Souls, all of its strikes use the beak. The Estoc was a longsword with a sharpened tip, designed for thrusting. It’s notable because they did not have a sharpened blade. In Dark Souls, they’re distinguished from the Rapier by having a slash attack on their one handed heavy attack. This is notable because it’s one of the few things the real weapon could not do.

The new wrinkle with Dark Souls III is the weapon arts. From what I’ve seen, they’re more in line with the Old Hunter’s version of the Moonlight Greatsword; a charged attack that consumes mana, making it more important for non-magic builds in DS3. The actual moves the system unlocks aren’t any more realistic than what was already in the game.

Dark Souls is still a very interesting setting (as are Demons Souls and Bloodborne‘s), but the combat in those is more, “visually engaging” than realistic.

Incidentally, this is also the case with almost all of Bloodborne’s transformation weapons. They’re there to make the weapons more interesting on a gameplay and visual level. Not because a cane that transforms into a chain whip or a comically massive hammer with a sword in it’s grip, would be a good idea. (That said, the Threaded Cane is stylish as hell.) Bloodborne also gets a decent excuse; the entire game is actually a nightmare/dreamworld; so it’s possible all the weapons you’re finding don’t actually exist in the setting’s real world.

No, Dark Souls isn’t a particularly authentic model of medieval combat. But, it is an entertaining one.


This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron.