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Pterry does it again.

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Jan. 12th, 2012 | 02:58 pm
mood: amusedamused
posted by: marveen in discworld

It turns out that the one-shot crossbow that one can hide down one's pants (requiring nerves and other parts of steel) is historical Roundworld.

Apparently in ancient China it was known as the back crossbow. The bolt was propelled by a powerful spring. The bolt head had a notch in it which caught a swiveling springloaded trigger. One strapped it to one's back, bowed--properly!--to the target and pulled a string, tripping the trigger and releasing a forty-pound spring-and-piston arrangement.

According to the History Channel's "Death Weapons of the East" program, it was usually coupled with poison and thus more of an 'eventual' death than an 'instant' death.

(There was also mention of a version that fired five smaller darts rather than one stouter bolt, on what I suppose we'd call the scattergonne principle.)

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