One thing that may leave you a little baffled in the setting of Aegis Aurea is the presence of both modern and antique items. A prime example is in the weapons, where alongside the firearms there are mentions of swords, spears and swordsticks. How is it possible to combine two elements that are so different? Why would a gangster carry around a sword, except perhaps to resemble a Japanese yakuza? In fact, this is a valid question. What it does not take into account, however, is the variety of contexts present in the setting.
Let’s start by saying that in big cities, where weapons, ammunition and repairs are cheap and easily accessible, there’s almost no reason not to use firearms. They are lightweight, fast, easy to hide and cause a lot of damage with relatively little training. Also, a physically weak person can drive substantial damage using firearms without needing intensive training to increase muscle power. However, there are many situations where to use (or even own) a firearm is not practical or economical.
First, moving away from the big cities, especially outside of Italy, the technology to produce advanced weapons becomes progressively more expensive. A good knife can cost you tens, even hundreds of times less than a firearm, especially in places where to get that firearm means shipments through inhospitable territories like the fringes of the Sahara desert in North Africa. Staying with the desert theme, in many environments firearms present the risk of jamming, for example from fine sand or salt buildup. Additionally, if your guns are not constantly kept in good condition, just thick smog can bring dust inside and cause jams.
Similarly, when you are in territories outside of the cities, the situation is less straightforward. Guns require ammo, and it is not always possible to carry it in large quantities on long journeys. You must also have weapons that are reliable and do not require extra material to repair. In this case, bladed weapons can provide valuable support. These weapons also have a wider range of applications, allowing you to move more easily through dense forests, cut ropes and chop wood. Moreover, their use is not likely to attract unwanted attention. We must not forget that firearms are extremely noisy (some rifles exceed 160 dB). Also using a silencer (or suppressor) does not always help: the noise remains above 100 decibels (and I think a scream is around 90 dB, usually). If you suspect that someone is following you, the last thing you want to do is attract attention with violent noise.
If we start to talk about fighting unnatural creatures, the benefit of using firearms is reduced considerably. Many creatures have biological functions that are not understood in the classical sense; in this case, the only viable solution is often to attack them with something sharp and dismember them. You can unload rounds and rounds on an abomination made of mud without getting any effect, while with a good long blade you can end the battle rather quickly! Taking into account that many undead can be destroyed only by beheading (and not just with a single shot to the head), you can see that this kind of situation is much less rare than you might think at first glance.
Bladed weapons also have another advantage from the magical point of view: they can be consecrated. Consecrated weapons (which are detailed in the manual, if you’re curious) receive the same magical resistance as their owner, and do not reject the magic of those who wield them with the same intensity as normal objects. This makes them the favoured weapons in magical combat, with those who use the Magic School certamen. Not surprisingly the Hawks standard equipment consists of a light firearm a short blade and a long blade.
In short, bladed weapons should not be underestimated. Sure, a street thug will not go around flaunting a two-handed broadsword, but in many circumstances blades much more appropriate weapons than guns, and as such should not be left out of the inventory of the shrewd adventurer.