A hand-and-a-half - or bastard - sword was a straight-bladed sword renowned for being lightweight, yet powerful, able to pry open plate armor. The swords are versatile and effective because they can be wielded with two hands, yet a fighter could also wield it with one hand if they fought using a shield.
Most hand-and-a-half swords have simple "cruciform" hilts. The term "hand-and-a-half" may have originated due to the fact that the sword was designed for both one and two-handed use. A hand-and-a-half sword can be anywhere from 3.5 to 4.5 feet long, and generally weighs around 2-4 pounds.
Use in the Inheritance cycle Edit
Murtagh used a hand-and-a-half sword with a leather-wrapped hilt (though the detail of the hilt is not mentioned until Brisingr) throughout his travels with Eragon, up until he claimed Zar'roc from Eragon at the Battle of The Burning Plains. Eragon kept Murtagh's old sword as a memento after the battle, though he did not use it for himself.
Eragon's new sword, Brisingr, was also designed as a hand-and-a-half sword. This was an interesting twist because Eragon and Murtagh are half-brothers.