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Classified as a "Variant Ballistic Chain Scythe" (VBCS), Gambol Shroud is capable of changing from a cleaver-like sword to a katana, and a gun.
The essence of the two weapon components is that they fit together as one, but come apart to be two, so that they are compact for easier carrying. When in sheathed form, Gambol Shroud was held by the hilt, but when the two components separate, the sheath was held by a small rectangular hole near the top. The katana also had a compact, striker-fired pistol built into its hilt.
Gambol Shroud had a thick, gray sheath with a sharp edge, similar to that of an oversized cleaver. Although serving as a sheath, it can be used effectively as a weapon. Gambol Shroud, when unsheathed, appeared to be a dark gray katana and was equally as effective as, if not more than, its sheath. Blake typically carried this duo on a magnetic sheet of metal strapped to her back.
The pistol was used as a ranged weapon and its recoil could be used to swing or anchor the blade. Its pistol let out a large, prominent purple blast when fired. In pistol form, the weapon resembled a kama, with the gun barrel pointed in the opposite direction of the edge. The blade itself seemed to be very strong, able to cut through the metal body of an Atlesian Knight-130. However, it seemed to be incapable of damaging thicker armors, such as that of the Spider Droid or the skin of a Nevermore. The black segment of the hilt was able to fold over the barrel of the gun as a sort of extension, often seen during the transformation sequence between gun and katana modes, although it is currently unknown if this served a particular purpose.The end of the katana's blade appeared to have a sharpened double-edge, terminating in a raised spike. The second edge was there to serve as the edge on the inner side of the kama form's blade. The spike and double-edge also allowed Blake to have the main edge and pistol barrel facing outward, while maintaining a potentially lethal hold on an enemy.
Gambol Shroud has a ribbon attached to the end of the katana's hilt, which Blake can wrap around the trigger in pistol form to freely swing it around when the blade folds down. This form is similar to that of a kusarigama. In this form, her fighting style is somewhat similar to that of Ruby Rose, as both girls use the recoil from the firearm to increase the velocity of the blade component. The ribbon has been shown to be very strong, durable and elastic, being used as a slingshot by Team RWBY to propel Ruby to kill the Nevermore. It can also be used as a grappling hook, which Blake uses to save herself after being accidentally knocked into a crevasse by Nora.
Blake used her weapon throughout her life as a White Fang member and as a student in Beacon Academy, often using it’s ribbon feature for specialized team attacks. She kept using it after she left Vale for Menagerie and Mistral. During their mission to get to Atlas, she fought Adam Taurus and Gambol Shroud's sword was broken rendering it briefly unusable.
After arriving in Atlas, Gambol Shroud's blade was fixed by Pietro Polendina and now has a golden line where the blade was broken.
Due to weapons acting as conduits for Aura, specialized Dust cartridges could be inserted into Gambol Shroud to modify Blake's Semblance, altering her Shadows into more than just mere afterimages, in a manner not dissimilar to Weiss Schnee's weapon, Myrtenaster. The form her Shadows take on depends on the element of Blake's choosing, significantly increasing her Semblance's tactical applications and allowing her quickly shift from defense to offense .
- Fire Dust (Red) - Changes Blake's Shadow into a fiery clone that explodes violently when it detonates, damaging enemies.
- Earth Dust - Changes Blake's Shadow into a stone statue, which can be used as cover and defense from attacks.
- Ice Dust (Dark blue) - Changes Blake's Shadow into an ice sculpture, which with correct timing can trap enemy weapons inside.
- Violet Dust - Changes Blake's Shadow into a dark haze, lingering longer than her normal clones and blocking people's vision.
- Gambol means "to leap about playfully". A shroud, commonly a cloth, is something that conceals or protects.
- Gambol Shroud's pistol form resembled a Glock pistol. In fact, the textures for the weapon note it as a Glock 19.
- The pistol's grip has changed from a block to a more gun-like grip between the "Black" Trailer and the series. This may simply be because the weapon's animation assets were not completely detailed at the time of the trailer's release.
- Monty Oum hinted that the design of Gambol Shroud would be changing in Volume 3.
- Miles Luna claims that Gambol Shroud is the "sexiest, deadliest weapon", aside from the "gun gun", when asked by a fan at RTX 2014.
- After its repair in Atlas, Gambol Shroud now has a golden strip connecting the broken blade to its new half. This may be a reference to the ancient Japanese tradition of Kintsugi.
- In Amity Arena, Ribbon Blake's Food-Fight outfit replaces the blades with baguettes.