WahKahn in (MMO)RPG worlds

Roleplaying! As if the world weren't full of enough history without inventing more …

Medium- to Close-range Pirate Weapons

An early naval cannon, which is allowed to rol...

Image via Wikipedia

Workplace Politics Is Not a Game, but we can learn to defend ourselves without becoming the petty tyrants we fight, and not loose too much time and energy on that, by using a game for finding effective counter tactics.

Our Ship Of Fools didn’t have weapons in the last two runs.

So here are some possible weapons. Each weapon links to one of Rick Brenner’s articles on Workplace Politics.

Medium range

bar shot

bar shot

Bar shots were big iron bars making large holes as it passed through any part of the ship. The lack of a predictable trajectory would dictate a much shorter range than a bomb or whatever.

Stinkpots were small clay pots with burning sulfur, plant gums and/or rotten fish inside, that were thrown onto the “enemy” deck. Maybe they will vomit themselves into submission.



Hand grenades look like pomegranates. For example, small glass bottles or little pots made of clay, wood, or iron, filled with black gunpowder mixed with broken glass or scraps of iron and lit with a fuse. Good for shrapnel wounds and shock value. Very harsh.

A canon bundle shot consisted of packs of short metal bars to make short work of a crew or passengers.

A cannon grape shot is a bunch of little cast iron balls wrapped in canvas or burlap. Used when boarding a ship or resisting a boarding party.


Grape shot

A canister shot was a box or cage or canister filled up with grape, bundle shot, or stones to finish a fight that is taking too long.

A cannon scrap shot contained crap iron, nails, spikes, and when everything else is gone…gold coins!

Barshot and chain shot were rounds designed to destroy rigging and sails. Bundle shot, canister, and grape shot were used against personnel. Cluster rounds rounded out the variety of shots fired from the cannons.




Guns in general.

Swivel guns are small cannons set in place in their sockets on the rail at whatever point other pirates were attempting to board, killing most or all of the first wave of intruders.

A musket has more long-distance capacity than a blunderbuss or musketoon. Its longer barrel and single-shot capacity were used in the early point of a boarding attempt to pick off helmsmen and officers.

Volley gun

Volley gun

The blunderbuss is a muzzle loading shotgun with the firepower of a one-person cannon. Big recoil. Used for boarding parties and personal defense.

Musketoons are much shorter than their brother the musket, and muzzle loading like the blunderbuss. Used for boarding and general purpose tail-whooping.

Flintlock pistols are highly valued because of its size and maneuverability used in boarding, close-quarters, and disputes of all sorts. Also a muzzle loading single shot gun. The butt end was good for pistol whipping.

Multi-barreled pistols are bulky, costly, unpredictable, with rotating barrels.

Pocket pistols (ancestors of the Derringer) were convenient tiny muzzle loaded guns, placed where they could be retrieved quickly and easily for a last-minute gut or face shot.

The volley gun or pistol comes in pistol or rifle form. Awfully slow.

Short range



The Cutlass is the weapon most associated with Pirates and probably more common among them than even a flintlock pistol. The one thing that would keep working after all the guns were discharged. Ideal for fighting in the close confines on or below deck.

Besides the cutlasses we can use a variety of daggers and knives like dirks and scabbards. The marlinespike was a pike or spike that held the Favorite Pirate Weapon status among those with mutiny on their mind. Used to try to be mean about who’s in charge, when do we get paid, and such.

Don’t staff the Ammo Dump!

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