Today's symbol is the double form of the typographical dagger. We saw the single form two days ago, as the symbol for Death written on Ben Casey's chalkboard. Why associate death with a dagger? Apart from the obvious association that it's something that can kill you... I wonder if the medieval copyists were making a canny allusion to that Biblical verse about how the end will come "like a thief in the night" (very cloak and dagger, hmm?). The visual association of the dagger with the Christian cross probably has something to do with it, although the typography people are always quick to distinguish the dagger from the cross.
The DOUBLE dagger doesn't have much unique significance, other than being next in line after its single sibling when making footnotes. But I think it's cool. :-)
In RPGs, daggers are sometimes dismissed of as one of the least deadly weapons, fit only as a backup for weakling wizards once they run out of spells. But to most "normal men" (with 1d4 hit points in many classic versions of D&D), a dagger is just as deadly as a two-handed sword! Maybe it's time to make the simple dagger more interesting... and dangerous! Taking a cue from today's symbol, I found the following super-cool "double dagger" in a Google image search:
|(Click for link to original source)|
- Daggers are small, so they're perfect for hiding in everyday objects. Particularly nasty was this wooden crucifix shiv that someone found in a real prison.
- Sometimes daggers are thrown, but what if the thrower attached a light rope or chain to the end, so it can be pulled back and used repeatedly? One would think the extra weight of the line would make it clumsier to use in battle, but there are styles of Eastern martial arts that make use of this kind of Rope Dart.
- I'm sure that many RPGs have special rules for high-dexterity combatants who can fight with one dagger in each hand. Putting some thought into which parts of clothing conceals such a dagger-pair can be fun... Boots? Sleeves? Sword scabbards or arrow quivers that conceal extra hidden pockets? (i.e., weapons within weapons!)
- Some monsters can be damaged only by bladed weapons made of a special metal (sometimes silver, sometimes iron). Extending that, an interesting "magic item" would be a set of 7 daggers, each made of the one of the 7 classical/planetary metals. (The Mercurial one would have to be merely "infused" with quicksilver, of course...) Each would have a special effect related to the symbolism of its metal.