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Porphyria's Guide to Spears


The spear is quite possibly one of the most ancient forms of weaponry, undoubtedly having roots far back in the days when even the elves and tuatha were no more than bands of wandering hunters scratching a living from the face of the world. And though the art of the spear is a long-lived and noble one, the implements with which one might practice this art are somewhat difficult to find, especially if one wants a weapon that has more authority than a simple pointed stick. Unfortunately, swords appear to have taken much of the popularity away from the spear as an implement of war, and though the spear-user's plight may not be as poor as the plight of those who choose to use bludgeons or flails for their combat needs, it can seem from time to time as if for every spear of impressive power, there are twenty or so swords of equal merit.

In these pages, I will attempt to catalog a number of spears and provide some guidance as to how each spear stacks up against its brothers and sisters. Although much of the process of comparing and choosing weapons is subjective and must be done for oneself, I will attempt to give as much good information as possible in the pursuit of providing a basis upon which a choice might be made, as well as to perhaps provide some enlightenment for the unexperienced spear-user on where to secure a decent armament.

The Spears

Each spear entry will include where the spear is found (if known), an appraisal of its usefulness as a weapon (including a comparative evaluation against similar spear types by Lucanius), and a general commentary on the weapon.

Iron-tipped oak spear

Location: Grebor's Weapon Smithy in Losthaven

It really is sad that so many new adventurers' first experience with spears happens to be this poor excuse for a weapon. This spear is inferior as a basic weapon in almost every way to almost every other spear out there, even those which, like the bamboo spear described below, are simple sharpened sticks. Perhaps the quality of Grebor's weapons is one of the primary reasons why the Losthaven Guard has suffered so many setbacks recently. One can only imagine what underhanded tricks Grebor must have engaged in to get himself set up as the only weapon smith in Losthaven -- a blind runtling could do a better job. Porphyria's recommendation: Ditch this spear as quickly as possible, or your friends will all point at you and laugh.

Bamboo spear

Location: Raven in the Temple of Discordia

For all that Raven's spears are simple sharpened sticks, they still out-perform Grebor's iron-tipped oak spear, hands down. Even so, this is not the best spear out there by a longshot... About the best thing that might be said about it is that Raven tends to get into a lot of fights, and his spears are often left behind for anyone to abscond with. Porphyria's recommendation: A free spear is better than no spear at all, but you're still skimming the bottom of the barrel.

Steel yari

Location: Jan Li's shop in Hanoma

The technology of sharpening a stick and thrusting the sharp end into other things appears to have largely passed the Hanomaniacs by. After all, with the primary industry of the island being fishing, there is only too obviously no use for spears at all, while the great usefulness of a war fan is only too apparent. As a result, the steel yari is the only spear to be found on the island. This is a good, serviceable weapon -- surprisingly good, considering that the whole culture of Hanoma seems to have completely forsaken spears (a testament more to Jan Li's abilities than anything else.) It's just a shame that Jan Li does not make a 'Jan Li's secret' version of this particular weapon (although he does make such a version of the war fan), since such a weapon would certainly be one of the best spears out there. Porphyria's recommendation: One of the better spears out there, and well worth getting until you can snatch up something a bit higher up the chain.

Bone-tipped ironwood javelin

Location: Teryx

The good news is that these things tend to be liberally strewn about Teryx, which is a good thing, if you're looking for a javelin. The problem here is that this weapon does not rate very highly on the basic weapon scale, somehow being even worse than Grebor's iron-tipped oak things. One good thing is that these javelins have good armor piercing ability and better balance than a good number of other spears on this list. Porphyria's recommendation: A real mixed bag here... Might be useful for the stubby-armed (if they're too stubby to handle a real spear), or if you want a weapon you can just throw away or else dual-wield. There are better javelins than this one, though.

Iron javelin

Location: Shatterspire

Another javelin, this one from Shatterspire. Again, these things tend to be littered around the place, making them an easy catch. Like the bone-tipped javelin above, this weapon has superior balance qualities to most spears, as well as a very high armor penetration value. They're also a better basic weapon than the Teryx javelins (although still less powerful than Grebor's spears). Porphyria's recommendation: Looks decent enough for javelin-users. Good enough to be ammunition, not so good or rare that you would miss it if it were gone.

Iron spear

Location: Shatterspire

Another good showing from the lizards up in Shatterspire. This is a pretty good middle-of-the-road spear. You probably won't be laughed at if you find one of these in your hands, but then again, you probably won't elicit any gasps of awe, either. Porphyria's recommendation: This would really be the spear that I would start out with if I were brand new. It's found lying around a lot, and it's a decent enough weapon for those who can't make the trip somewhere more exotic to pick up something better.

Bone-tipped ironwood spear

Location: Teryx

Seriously, what's up with winged races and their whole fetish with long shafts? Almost half the weapons you see in either Shatterspire or Teryx are spears and javelins -- not that I'm complaining. I would be proud to line my pitfall trap with this spear. Surprisingly, the bone-tipped ironwood spear actually beats out the iron spear from Shatterspire as a basic weapon. This is another one of those spears that just seems to end up lying on the floor a lot of the time, so if you happen to be near Teryx, it might be good to drop by and take a look. Porphyria's recommendation: Really, if you can get to Teryx, you can get to Hanoma to pick up a steel yari, which is still a better weapon.

Orange-and-red flamra spear

Location: Corna

If you're looking for a spear weapon that does more than just make holes in people, then this is a spear for you, since it will make holes in people and burn them, all at the same time. On the upside, you'll look cool and be ready to take on that magical snowman. The downside is that lots of things have fire resistance, so you might find yourself not doing as much damage as you might think you'd do with a flaming spear. This is also a pretty tough spear to get, since Eridar's a difficult opponent who won't willingly part with his weapon. Porphyria's recommendation: If you want fire damage for some reason, go for it. Otherwise, not high on the recommended list.

Serpent spear

Location: Corna

Surprisingly, this impressively-named spear clocks in rather low on the charts as far as weapon quality and armor penetration go. Supposedly, this weapon was designed with a similar purpose to the serpent swords -- to aid the citizens of Corna in their battles with the pesky raptorak. It certainly does seem to kill raptoraks quickly enough, but seriously, who's going to be fighting raptoraks enough of the time to spend the energy lugging this thing around, when there are better spears out there? Somehow, this is also quite a valuable item, since shopkeepers will pay thousands for it. Porphyria's recommendation: It's hard to get, and only really useful against things with scales... Ditch it.

Mithril spear

Location: Shadow Tower

The Shadow Tower has a very special place in my heart. After all, it's the only prison I've ever heard of where the prisoners are allowed to keep the weapons they came in with. I hear that shankings are as common as straw pallets, and what with the satyrs also imprisoned there, god help you if you drop the soap in the shower. Reanada uses this spear as a back-up when she can't find her diamond-edged halberd. This is quite the weapon, as one might expect from a spear made of mithril. Porphyria's recommendation: If you're new, snag one of these ASAP... It's not likely to get better than this for you for a while.

Iron-tipped blackwood spear

Location: A bunch of raptoraks hanging around a battlefield.

Almost unbelievably, this 'weapon' actually fares worse than that drunk Grebor's travesty of a spear. In fact, you might want to keep this one around, just because you're not likely to find a worse spear weapon than this, and so it's rare and beautiful in that sense. The raptoraks must be getting their weapons from an agent of Corna, since whoever supplied the raptoraks with this thing must want them to lose. Porphryia's recommendation: Seriously, if you can't figure this one out for yourself, you're probably not smart enough to read this.

Obsidian-tipped oak spear

Location: Tenochca

The natives of Tenochca have not advanced much past the sharpen-a-stick-and-poke-things-with-it stage of spear construction. This is an obvious specimen from the stick-a-sharp-rock-on-top-of-a-stick stage of spear design, and it's about as good as you would expect -- better than Raven's bamboo spears, worse than the serpent spears. And somehow, still better than Grebor's spears. Porphyria's recommendation: Pass... by the time you find this place and can actually kill the guy who has this spear, you'll probably be sporting something much better, anyhow.

Cultural Notes


While thrusting weapons would appear to be ideal as a defensive measure in the cramped quarters of a mineshaft, the dwarves of Kolond have acquired some sort of perverse fascination for axes and hammers -- weapons that, amongst their other attributes, take a great deal of room to swing. There is nary a spear of any sort to be found within the tunnels of Kolond. As a result of this cultural eccentricity, the tunnels delved by Kolondinian dwarves are much higher and wider than would otherwise be necessary, allowing for much easier access by orcs and trolls than would be possible were the tunnels engineered to the proper height for sensibly-armed dwarven warriors. Given the insensibility of the dwarven defense plans for Kolond, it is indeed a surprise that this settlement has endured for as long as it has. It is as if the whole culture was designed by a linguistics professor more for the aesthetic appeal of hammer- and axe-armed berserkers (which the northmen of Gardagh pull off much more effectively) than for any sort of practical considerations.

Xi Feng Ming

Unlike the dwarves of Kolond, the utility of a thrusting weapon inside narrow caverns has not been lost on the inhabitants of Xi Feng Ming -- there are quite a few spear-like weapons to be found here. Unfortunately, the inhabitants of these caverns just don't seem to know when to let a good thing be, and so instead of mere spears, the smiths here have taken the humble spear and jazzed it up. You can find double-ended spear-staves, spear-swords... just about anything but a plain old spear. While these hybrid weapons might be decent enough on their own terms, they tend to be somewhat awkward from the perspective of a dedicated spear-user, as they appear to require skill sets beyond those which would be generally used in wielding a regular spear. Because of this, I have refrained from reviewing any of these weapons, and leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not they really need a spear-sword-chain-mace.

Comparative rankings

Comparative evaluation of spears comes from Lucanius. Rankings are based on the items as found, although each spear has been blessed so that Lucanius will evaluate it (as he does not perform evaluation of non-magical items). Please note that there are ways to improve the power and craft levels of a weapon, and some weapons may be more improvable than others (weapons that start out as 'good' craft may have more room to improve than weapons that start out as 'excellent' craft, for example).

Basic weapon

    1. Mithril spear
    2. Steel yari
    3. Bone-tipped ironwood spear
    4. Orange-and-red flamra spear
    5. Iron spear
    6. Serpent spear
    7. Obsidian-tipped oak spear
    8. Bamboo spear
    9. Iron-tipped oak spear
    10. Iron-tipped blackwood spear
    11. Iron javelin
    12. Bone-tipped ironwood javelin

Armour penetration

    1. Iron javelin
    2. Bone-tipped ironwood javelin
    3. Mithril spear
    4. Steel yari, iron spear, bone-tipped ironwood spear, orange-and-red flamra spear
    5. Serpent spear, obsidian-tipped oak spear
    6. Bamboo spear
    7. Iron-tipped oak spear, iron-tipped blackwood spear
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