A style of blade referred to in Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. Powers ascribed to it by subsequent sources (read: AD&D rulebooks) include notably the ability to, on a natural 20, lop off the head of the thing you are attacking with it (assuming that it has a head.) Vorpal swords are often accompanied by a +5 to-hit modifier, and it is extremely uncommon for any non-sword weapon to have a vorpal enchantment.

At the moment of decapitation, vorpal blades are known to go snicker-snack!

2003.01.20@20:58 randombit says Re vorpal: Nethack also has vorpal swords, including a vorpal katana artifact named Snickersnee. Another Nethack artifact, the Vorpal Blade, will instantly kill all Jabberwocks (of course).

2005.9.10@3:02 mowph says Re: vorpal - In nethack, the artifact weapon Snickersnee is not a vorpal weapon. Common misassumption because of the shared etymology to the Vorpal Blade's "snicker-snack!" sound. It might also be confused with the Muramasa Tsurugi, which has a similar (but not identical) critical hit effect.

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