When the race known as the Hur’q invaded Qo’nos and introduced spacegoing technology, the Klingons were still predominantly an agrarian and nomadic civilisation. A great deal has been forgotten about this time, but research increasingly suggests that the Klingons of this time were no more predominantly warlike than any other culture at this stage of development. There was also significant cultural differentiation. Although Klingons never had time to develop nation-states as such, some remnants of these cultural groupings survive, notably in the Rumaniy (who were perhaps the only true “warrior” culture of this time) and Qvav’mar nations.
Having been able to take from the Hur’q enough technology to drive the invaders off their world, the ascendant warrior caste, as the first true global society, began to unite Qo’nos by force.
Having done this, they took their people to the stars, with the goal of gaining so much power that no race would ever be able to invade their world again. It was at this time that the Klingon warrior culture with which we are familiar began to take shape, though it took many centuries for the warrior caste to overcome the scholarly, religious and builder castes which also gained power during this period as the enablers and administrators of empire.
The Klingon warriors who went into space, therefore, were remnants of an heroic age, trying to assimilate the thought and discipline they would need to win interstellar battles. Not surprisingly, they clung to their historic arsenal as a reminder of their past.
The “sword of honour” is the most well-known of all Klingon weapons, and like many of the weapons linked to the time of Kahless, it is highly defensive in its functionality. Unable to thrust or extend efficiently, the bat’leth must take the incoming force and either disarm or wound in a defensive manner. It is the traditional weapon of warrior caste nobles, although many have turned to the tik’leth or other more offensively-oriented blade weapons.
The mek’leth originated in the Qvav’mar nation as a weapon of the free farmers and craftsmen. Adapted from a farming tool, it is designed to counter and disarm wielders of larger weapons. In the hands of a skilled warrior, its agility and idiosyncratic functionality can allow it to dominate against less subtle blades. When the Klingons went into space, Qvav’mar enlistees took their mek’leths with them, and over time it became known as the weapon of non-commissioned officers. The Qvav’mar original called ruqvariat adds an additional blade surface beneath the grip and is intended to be used in pairs.
Any of a number of “straight” swords, these are the blades most similar to Earth weapons. They are, along with the spear, the traditional weapon of the rank and file, although many nobles prefer the offensive functionality of the tik’leth, and many soldiers carry mass-produced bat’leths as a status symbol.
Blood Knife (‘Iw taj)
The direct descendant of the weapon which inspired the Klingon tIq ghob emblem, the blood knife is a dagger, longer and heavier than the d’k tahg which was derived from it. Unlike the d’k tahg, which was conceived as a general-purpose combat knife intended for mass production, the blood knife is a dedicated duelling weapon.
The two side blades, one pointing up and one pointing down, serve particular functions. The upward-pointing blade is designed to catch an opponent’s weapon and, with a twisting motion, disarm him. The downward pointing blade is designed to inflict shallow cuts in passing, sapping the enemy’s strength, and allows the weapon to advance smoothly without this blade getting in the way. Duelists often hook their index and middle fingers over the crossbar, which allows the weapon to achieve impressive agility despite weakening the grip, though it may also be used with a reverse grip.
These blades are carried by traditionalists and a few discerning martial artists. A warrior who carries a mek’leth and a blood knife is probably from a Qvav’mar background and is likely a martial artist of high calibre.