A fighting oar is an all-wooden Rostran polearm with origins in the pre-history of the sea-faring Rostran Archipelago Confederacy. A fighting oar is derived from an ancient form of oar used for rowing vessels across the oceans of Rostral C. The paddle portion of a fighting oar is long and relatively narrow in cross-section, taking up anywhere from three-fifths to one-quarter of the weapon's overall length. The paddle is usually slightly tapered towards its distal end, abruptly coming to a point at the very tip. The sides of the paddle are themselves tapered and burnished, creating somewhat sharp edges. Occasionally, the paddle's shape will be altered from the usual, broadly-rectilinear form, providing both different options for use as an oar (i.e. in sculling) and as a weapon (i.e. by hooking around enemy armos).
Mechanics & Inner Workings
Much like with the djet of New Voxelian Djet Kazh, In Rostran martial arts emphasize the ability of the fighting oar to strike or parry with every surface - though the edges of the paddle are known to produce the most killing power in a strike. A fighting oar is almost always used two-handed, but particularly burly martial artists were known to use narrower examples one-handed with an armos in the off-hand; modern auto-armor cadres in the RACMF often use steel-hafted fighting oars in the latter manner for melee combat. Two buttressed sections on the haft just medial to the paddle provide reinforcement while ensuring that, should the oar break in combat, it will break such that a short handle is left for the continued use of the paddle in the manner of a wooden sword or club. During regular use, the notch created by these buttresses may be used to position the oar within an oarlock on a catamaran sitting low on the water. In the event of a break, the haft will retain utility as a club topped with the remaining buttressed section. Rostran martial arts also teach the use of the weapon in this state, with the haft in one hand and the paddle in the other. The wielder is encouraged to acquire a new fighting oar or switch to a backup weapon (such as a dagger) as soon as possible should this occur, as much of the fighting oar's power derives from its reach and swinging momentum.
Fighting oars are traditionally converted into the oar-markers of their wielders, though oar-markers are now often created explicitly for use during Esotericist funeral rites or the execution of ritual sigils in the name of Ixutabmut or Ixaumosana. In Rostran Esotericism, the fighting oar symbolizes courage, dedication, seamanship, fighting prowess, stewardship, leadership, and reverence for the spirits.
Like oar-markers, fighting oars are ubiquitous in both phyiscal and symbolic forms across all Rostran cultures. In addition to being weapons, fighting oars retain functionality as oars for rowing or (in certain niche shapes) for skulling. They often find use as walking sticks for hikers, the elderly, and the infirm, and they are employed in this manner by Hierophants as an unofficial badge of office. Fighting oars are less common as self-defense weapons in the modern era due to their cumbersome nature, with pistols and utility knives largely having overtaken them in this role. There are few legal controls on who may carry a fighting oar or where they may do so within Confederacy or Protectorate territories, though social conventions may dictate that they be stowed in certain circumstances (during diplomatic or business negotiations, meetings of the Archipelago Parliament, etc.). Recognized Hierophants may, of course, carry fighting oars regardless of circumstance, as these individuals are regarded as scholars who have proven their dedication to faith over other worldly concerns.
Varies; typically around 6' in length
Raw materials & Components
Like the ba'amba, a fighting oar is typically constructed of dense hardwood to better withstand the rigors of both use as a tool and as a weapon. This renders the item heavier than a purpose-built rowing or skulling oar, but also makes it significantly more durable.