Rangers of the North
a one-handed, single-edged sword
Length: 2 – 3 feet
Weight: 3.5 – 5 pounds
Fumble Range: 01 – 05 UM
Breakage #s: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Strength: 74 – 86
A falchion is a one-handed, single-edged sword.
The weapon combined the weight and power of an axe with the versatility of a sword. Falchions are found in different forms from around the late Second Age up to and including the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age. In some versions the falchion looks rather like the eket (Númenórean fighting knife) and later the sabre, and in some versions the form is irregular or like a straight scimitar with a crossguard.
The falchion is a favoured weapon of Black Númenóreans, who primarily carry a distinct type that can trace its origins to the city of Umbar around SA 2300.
It was developed from farmer’s and butcher’s knives, or in the manner of the larger eket (Greatknife). The shape concentrates more weight near the end, thus making it more effective for chopping strikes like an axe or cleaver but also makes it slower to wield than a sword with a lighter point or foible.
Types of falchion
The blade designs of falchions varied widely across the continent and through the ages. They almost always included a single edge with a slight curve on the blade towards the point on the end and most were also affixed with a quilloned crossguard for the hilt in the manner of the contemporary arming swords. Unlike double-edged swords, few actual swords of this type survived into the Fourth Age.
Two basic types can be identified
Cleaver falchions: Shaped very much like a large meat cleaver, or large bladed machete. The type seems to be confined to the early Second Age.
Cusped falchions: The majority of the depictions in art reflect a design similar to that of the large Greatknives. A typical example was just under two pounds in weight. Of its 37.5 inches (95.25 cm) in length, 31.5 inches (80.01 cm) are the straight blade which bears a cusped or flare-clipped tip. This blade style may have been influenced by the sabres of Harad that reached the Númenórean Umbar around SA 2280. This type of sword continued in use into the Third Age.