Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Long Live the Fighters!

As part of my thoughts on the classes, I've been thinking about how weapons can help define the archetypal fighter.

On the classic B/X covers, the fighter is a spear-and-shield type. Interesting, given that in my experience most of the pre-3E fighters I encountered in games (myself included) tended toward the "sword/longsword + shield in close combat, longbow in ranged combat" type.

To that end, I'd like to list some of my thoughts on the default fighters archetypes by weapon in the preliminary Enigmundia setting area:

Spearmen

I'd like to argue that these are actually more prevalent that the sword-swinging type. The long spears are pole arms that allow fighting at a distance from your opponent, are useful as walking sticks, allow the triggering of traps, and are relatively low expensive metal requirements. You can make one, fire-and-smoke-hardened, if you really need to.

You can also throw it in desperate times or -- perhaps more common to the jungle dwellers -- when hunting the next meal.

Probably best to assume that, in war, they'll have shields. But outside of war, they can carry them around just because they look cool. It's arguable that this would also be the weapon of some fighter/mages due to the mystical importance of spears in mythology.

And let's not forget that it's considered the king of weapons in Chinese martial arts circles.

Bolo men

This is taken from Fire in the Jungle, and refers to a bolo -- sort of a local short sword -- used to kill things, but also used for practical matters in the jungle like clearing brush from a path and cutting open coconuts.

The martial artists would be more than capable of using two of these at the same time, but for day-to-day use they'd carry this and maybe a knife when travelling.

Bow men

Rare due to specialization. Shortbows are more prevalent inside the jungle, due to numerous line-of-sight obstructions and the inherent portability issues of the slung bow and arrows.

Backup weapons for close-in fighting would be knives and daggers.

Sword men

We're talking longswords and broadswords here. Normally a sign of nobility or importance, because a well-crafted blade using that much quality metal indicates a source of money or very wealthy friends and family.

We can also assume some kind of ritualized drills, training, and more formal rules of engagement -- which can make them less dangerous or more dangerous depending on the setting (and the skill and temperament of the wielder).

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