A short sword, (or shortsword), was a light, piercing melee weapon.
In essence, this weapon was a smaller version of the longsword, but was longer than a dagger or dirk. It possessed many of the same parts, such as a generally double-edged blade, cross-guard, grip, and pommel. The blade was typically 12 to 20 inches (0.3 to 0.51 meters) long with a sharp point.
Short swords were standard issue for many different types of soldiers. Archers favored this weapon for use when combat range narrowed to a point such that their bows were no longer effective. Many warriors, including fighters, barbarians, paladins, and rangers carried these as a secondary weapon for use in the off-hand.
Smaller races would often use short swords as their primary weapon. Light and maneuverable, yet able to provide many different types of attacks, it was arguably the most common weapon on the battlefield. They were light enough to be used with finesse, but their its smaller size meant they were less deadly than a heavier blade.
These blades were common throughout all parts of Toril, including but not limited to Faerûn, Kara-Tur, and Zakhara. As usual, depending upon what part of Toril you're standing in, they are known by different colloquial names. In Faerûn in addition to being known as a short sword you may also hear the terms gladius or warsword.
- Butterfly sword
- Katzbalger, also known as "cat gutter", was a type of short and thick sword from the Blade Kingdoms, sometimes carried by Blade Captain and hippogriff cavalry.
- Wakizashi, a slightly arched shortsword commonly used in Kara-Tur.
Notable short swords
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 116. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 35, 37. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
- Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, James Wyatt (June 2008). Player's Handbook 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 218. ISBN 0-7869-4867-1.
- Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (2014). Player's Handbook 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 149. ISBN 978-0-7869-6560-1.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 121. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams (July 2003). Player's Handbook v.3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 160. ISBN 0-7869-2886-7.
- Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, Jeff Quick, and James Wyatt (March 2003). Arms and Equipment Guide 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7869-2649-7.
- Paul Kidd (November 1996). The Council of Blades. (TSR, Inc.), chap. 4, p. 68. ISBN 978-0786905317.
- Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 48. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.