Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A matter of weapons

Swords! They're the standard weapon in fantasy and gaming and it's not surprising why, either; they're a versatile weapon and can easily be made in large numbers quickly. They're also symbolic of heroism. The problem is that they weren't the only weapon in days past and shouldn't be used like they are. The genesis for this was inspired by a post on Daddy Grognard's about a campaign he DMs for his children. What caught my attention was that one of the players uses a trident wielding fighter. People normally associate the trident with Poseidon and his Roman counterpart, Neptune, but it was a legitimate weapon used by both gladiators and in the field. Tridents could snag an enemy's weapon between the points and had the advantage of creating three wounds with one stab. Not bad.

Medieval Weaponry.

There were other weapons used back then too, such as axes, polearms, missiles, spears, and blunt implements. To an extent, these weapons have been somewhat represented in fiction - Saint Cuthbert from Greyhawk carried a cudgel and apparently whacked non-believers with it. David killed Goliath with a sling. The Greeks and Romans preferred thrusting weapons like spears and javelins and I believe used swords as a fallback when their primary weapon was unavailable. A barbarian tribe called the Franks used a cool throwing axe called a Francisca to break up an enemy's shield wall before charging. During the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance periods, pikes became a mainstay of European armies until they were replaced by bayonets.

I guess if I had to tack a point onto this post, it would be to consider alternatives when creating a character for a fantasy story or an RPG. It'll certainly add a level of uniqueness that will set your character apart from others.

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