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The katana is an eastern-style sword with a slightly curved, single-edge blade on the outside edge of the curve and a tanto tip. Typical designs carry blade lengths anywhere from 24 to 29 inches (60.9 to 73.6 cm) depending upon their era in real-world history. They exhibit many of the same design characteristics as other swords including a blade, crossguard, and handle with one notable difference; the pommel is distinctly smaller if not lacking entirely. The reason is the weapon is crafted with such precise balance as to minimize if not negate the need for a large counterbalance.
The katana is the pinnacle of the swordmaker's art. Even a poor quality katana can be equal to a well-made weapon from another part of the world. The elegant curve of the blade is the result of the methods of forging and quenching used in its making. By using folded, composite steels, it can be used in combat with a greatly reduced chance of the blade bending or succumbing to brittleness and shattering. The tanto-style tip is a design feature of most Japanese-style swords that is similar to a blade fuller in western-style swords. It strengthens the tip of the weapon making it more resistant to damage during strong thrusts: the preferred method for breaching an enemy's armor since it allows the blade to penetrate the tsurubashiri (the leather covering over a samurai's lamellar armor) and slide between the laced bands of their Do-maru.
Need 4th Edition Information
Katanas originate from the island kingdom of Wa in the far-eastern realm of Kara-Tur. Their design has trickled slowly west into Faerûn so that now, certain Faerûnian master-craftsmen have been able to forge their own blades, though they are by no means any less exotic. The katana is known as the finest sword ever made to the peoples of the Western Heartlands.
- Celestial Fury, from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows Of Amn
- Corthala Family Blade, from Baldur's Gate II: Shadows Of Amn
Eric Cagle, Jesse Decker, Jeff Quick, & James Wyatt (March, 2003). Arms and Equipment Guide. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2649-X. James Wyatt (October 2001). Oriental Adventures (3rd edition). (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-2015-7.