Malazan Wiki
Malazan Wiki

The Crossbow was a weapon used by many different groups in the Malazan world. There were different types of crossbows.

In Darujhistan for instance, thieves used a lighter version of crossbow than the assassins.[1]

The Malazan Military had regular crossbows and crossbows specifically designed to be used with Moranth munitions. Fiddler used specially made crossbows made by the armourer Tak in Malaz City. After losing his previous one, Fiddler picked up an even better model when he visited the armourer. See Fiddler's crossbow below for details. To save time during combat, a standard crossbow might have its first quarrel already held in place in the firing slot by a leather loop.[2]

The Claw, the Malazan covert intelligence organisation, used rib-less crossbows, screw loaded, compact and deadly, if only for a short range.[3] They were small enough to conceal within the sleeves of a loose cloak while attached to a wrist brace.[4]

The Tiste Andii used heavy, antique crossbows.[5]

The Letherii Army, specifically their marines, used weak, small, fishing crossbows.[6] The powerful military-style crossbows of the Malazan military were unknown to them.[7]

The use of crossbows was widespread and their mechanisms were well known to any decent well trained army. Bandits in the Mengal Mountains, including Dernan and his army of robbers, also used crossbows.[8]

Known users[]


  • Rallick Nom - used a crossbow to assassinate Councilman Lim. The crank of the crossbow was well oiled and the sharp edges of the iron tipped quarrel were covered in poison. Nom wore gloves as protection against the weapon.[9]
  • Talo Krafar - his crossbow was normally strapped to his back, with the quarrels sheathed on his left leg.[10]

Malazan Army[]

  • Sappers - used crossbows designed for use with Moranth Munitions.

Kalam's arbalest[]

It is unclear if the crossbow was army issue or Claw issue. Kalam had the parts stored in a leather satchel. The metal parts were blued and the narrow wooden stock had been soaked in pitch then dusted with black sand. Once assembled, he attached a strap to it and slung it over one shoulder. He had a quiver of bolts for the crossbow.[19]

Fiddler's crossbow[]

Interpretation of Fiddler by Artsed

While serving with the Malaz 14th Army during the Whirlwind rebellion, Fiddler used a crossbow specially made to release cussers. The crossbow had been initially made by Fiddler and Hedge themselves, before they found a Marese jeweler in Malaz City. Since the knockback of the release system of the crossbow presented the greatest threat (the cusser could explode due to the recoil), the ribs were designed so that when they were sprung they sent the shockwave forward. Stops and plugs made of wood were used to absorb this shock before the cusser had been released out of the crossbow shaft, after which a recoil in the crossbow was of no consequence. The stops and plugs needed to be replaced after twenty or so shots.[20]

Fiddler called on the armourer Tak when the Bonehunters visited Malaz City. Tak reckoned that this crossbow had an improved range of over fifty paces. The ribs were made of ten strips of iron folded together with the springiness of the bands gradually increasing from the outside to the inside band. The cable was 'four hundred strands into twenty' (compared to the previous model's two hundred into ten), wound in Bhederin-gut then Dhenrabi oil.[21]

Rather than just cussers, the new model had cradles made to fit five sharpers or three burners as well. The modification also meant that the bow's cradle did not need changing each time. The cusser was set down into the cradle and the open-ended padded basket clamped in place. The motion raised a denticulate bar from the forward base of the cradle to prevent the cusser from slipping out when the crossbow was held point-down. That bar was linked to the release trigger so it would drop flush when the bow was fired. Rather than needing a shaft, the cradle itself was the launcher.[21]

Another improvement was the addition of an over-shoulder clamp, a brace designed to steady aim and even out the weight resulted also in the user not tiring their arms while holding and aiming.[21]

Notes and references[]