Kiseru battle pipes

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Big Mac
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Kiseru battle pipes

Post by Big Mac » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:53 pm

The Creature Catalogue Team put up a draft (3e) conversion of The Paper Warrior (it's awesome - go take a look) but there is a weapon there that interested me:
Cleon at the Creature Catalogue forums wrote:Kiseru: The Paper Warrior has a +1 kiseru made of iron that is painted to look like wood.

Simple Weapon—Melee
Light Melee Weapon

Code: Select all

		Cost	Dmg	Critical	Range 	Weight 	Damage Type
Kiseru* 	5 sp 	1d4 	×2		— 	2 lb. 	Bludgeoning

Kiseru: A kiseru is a tobacco pipe about as long as its wielder's forearm. They are normally made of wood with metal ends, but some kiseru are made entirely of metal. While kiseru appear to be harmless smoker's pipes they are actually solid enough to be used as clubbing weapons.

The kiseru is a special monk weapon. This designation gives a monk wielding a kiseru special options.
This monster originally featured in OA2 Night of the Seven Swords, so I wasn't sure if this was a core weapon.

I do find it in the 1e Oriental Adventures hardback, but it's missing from the 3e Oriental Adventures hardback. I'm not sure if this was dropped in 2nd Edition or 3rd Edition, but it's an interesting weapon. Anyhoo, here is what the 1e OA has for it:
David 'Zeb' Cook in Oriental Adventures wrote:Kisuru: The kiseru is a tobacco pipe made of metal. Its innocent apperance disguises its use as a clubbing weapon. It is popular with peasants and monks, because it is cheap and easy to make and does not appear as a dangerous weapon. It can also be used for smoking.
Someone, called Rich, has more detail on this weapon at The Unique Weapons of Ancient Japan:
Rich wrote:Kiseru Battle Pipes: Smoke Your Enemies

Imagine you're a pilgrim wandering the hillsides of ancient Japan. Weary from the long journey, you decide to take a break under a tree's shady branches. Just when kick back to enjoy a puff from your trusty pipe, some ruffians show up demanding money. What do you do?

If you're a badass, you beat those inconsiderate jerks with your pipe. Although not all were designed for fighting, a glance at pipe's size and weight might give away its user's intent. "Many pipes were made of metal and were… three to four feet long. Several edicts point to the fact that such pipes were used in brawls… Some pipes were fitted with regular guards, just like swords." Battle pipes became so common, martial arts schools devised techniques in their use.
The Wikipedia article for kiseru gives us a bit more detail on the connection between kiseru and swords:
Kiseru article on Wikipedia wrote:During the Edo period weapons were frequently used as objects to flaunt one's financial status. Since commoners were prohibited to carry sharper weapons, an elaborate kiseru carried slung from the waist often served the purpose. After the Meiji restoration and the abolishment of the caste system, many craftsmen who previously had worked on decorating swords moved on to designing kiseru and netsuke for tobacco pouches.
With all that context, the idea of a smoking pipe that is a concealed weapon makes a lot more sense.

I'm kind of sorry that this was not in the 3e version of OA and am glad that the Creature Catalogue team brought it back. I've not fully thought about the implication of making this a monk weapon yet, but now I know the backstory, this sounds like something that would be fun to include in a combat.
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Re: Kiseru battle pipes

Post by The Dark » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:17 am

Don Cunningham's Samurai Weapons: Tools of the Warrior discusses the kiseru in its section on improvised weapons. Tobacco was expensive and imported, so I do question how common it was for commoners and monks to carry around tobacco pipes historically, but for a fantasy setting where tobacco could be a local crop, it's more plausible. Most pipes intended primarily for smoking were 6 to 10 inches long, and many of them had metal ends but bamboo (or other wood) for the body of the tube. Kenka kiseru (fighting pipes) were 12 to 18 inches long and often made of cast iron or brass. There are a few rare kenka kiseru up to 4 feet long and with tsuba (handguards) like a sword. Samurai often had buyokiseru for when they were somewhere they couldn't carry swords but wanted a self-defense weapon; these were kenka kiseru that often had silver mouthpieces, usually around 16 inches long.

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Re: Kiseru battle pipes

Post by Boneguard » Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:10 am

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:53 pm
I do find it in the 1e Oriental Adventures hardback, but it's missing from the 3e Oriental Adventures hardback. I'm not sure if this was dropped in 2nd Edition or 3rd Edition, but it's an interesting weapon. Anyhoo, here is what the 1e OA has for it:
David 'Zeb' Cook in Oriental Adventures wrote:Kisuru: The kiseru is a tobacco pipe made of metal. Its innocent apperance disguises its use as a clubbing weapon. It is popular with peasants and monks, because it is cheap and easy to make and does not appear as a dangerous weapon. It can also be used for smoking.
Well truth be told there is no such thing as 2nd edition Oriental Adventures. It never got converted. Sure there were a box set and a couple adventures under the 2nd edition/Forgotten Realms label but the mechanic was pretty much directly taken as is from the 1st edition Oriental Adventures book.

The Hordes and Living Jungles are as closes to 2nd edition we got rulewise.
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Re: Kiseru battle pipes

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:09 pm

The Dark wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:17 am
Don Cunningham's Samurai Weapons: Tools of the Warrior discusses the kiseru in its section on improvised weapons. Tobacco was expensive and imported, so I do question how common it was for commoners and monks to carry around tobacco pipes historically, but for a fantasy setting where tobacco could be a local crop, it's more plausible. Most pipes intended primarily for smoking were 6 to 10 inches long, and many of them had metal ends but bamboo (or other wood) for the body of the tube. Kenka kiseru (fighting pipes) were 12 to 18 inches long and often made of cast iron or brass. There are a few rare kenka kiseru up to 4 feet long and with tsuba (handguards) like a sword. Samurai often had buyokiseru for when they were somewhere they couldn't carry swords but wanted a self-defense weapon; these were kenka kiseru that often had silver mouthpieces, usually around 16 inches long.
Thanks.

So the smaller ones (6 inches long) are probably not too good for fighting, while the super-large 18 inch long ones might almost be big enough to increase the size of a weapon (in D&D terms). :cool:
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Re: Kiseru battle pipes

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:14 pm

Boneguard wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:10 am
Well truth be told there is no such thing as 2nd edition Oriental Adventures. It never got converted. Sure there were a box set and a couple adventures under the 2nd edition/Forgotten Realms label but the mechanic was pretty much directly taken as is from the 1st edition Oriental Adventures book.
Sorry, I meant that I thought it might be in something like the Kara-Tur boxed set.

The original kiseru also got mentioned in an adventure, so I was wondering if any of the 2e OA or FROA adventures might have featured one.
Boneguard wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:10 am
The Hordes and Living Jungles are as closes to 2nd edition we got rulewise.
I can't imagine the horselords having these, but I guess some of them might have got sent on the trade route to Faerûn and passed through The Horde area.

And Malatra: The Living Jungle is isolated, so they probably don't have them.
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Re: Kiseru battle pipes

Post by Boneguard » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:49 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:14 pm
Sorry, I meant that I thought it might be in something like the Kara-Tur boxed set.

The original kiseru also got mentioned in an adventure, so I was wondering if any of the 2e OA or FROA adventures might have featured one.
Specifically, probably not.

The Kara-Tur Boxed set, is mostly geographic and cultural, expending on a small section of the OA hardcover. It has been a while since I read it, but if memory serves me well, it's mostly background and very little crunch. But I could see Misery being very popular in Wa and Kozakura (Both Japan analogue).

Following that logic the most likely modules would be:
OA1, Swords of the Daimyo, OA2 Night of the Seven Swords, FROA1 Ninja Wars are set in Kozakura.
OA3, Blood of the Yakuza, OA7 Test of the Samurai are set in Wa.
Big Mac wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:14 pm
Boneguard wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 2:10 am
The Hordes and Living Jungles are as closes to 2nd edition we got rulewise.
I can't imagine the horselords having these, but I guess some of them might have got sent on the trade route to Faerûn and passed through The Horde area.

And Malatra: The Living Jungle is isolated, so they probably don't have them.
It's a long shot I agree but possible
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