Colin's Thoughts, Suggestions, and Errata

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Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39
Colin's Thoughts, Suggestions, and Errata

Dwarven Machinist
It seems odd that they cannot effectively wield clubs and maces given that they make extensive use of hammers, wrenches, spanners, et al. in their work, and these are fundamental weapons they’d have at hand.
Dwarven Spelunker
I’m not sure I’d permit them access to two-handed axes, maces, flails, and hammers; it seems to go against their light and mobile approach as evidenced by light armour and no shield. Two-handed weapons would be unwieldy and impeding when it comes to squeezing through mineral-encrusted passages, negotiating (or fighting in) narrow tunnels filled with stalagmites and the like. I could see them using one-handed weapons with both hands, but not wielding classical two-handed weapons.
Mystic
With their current breadth of weaponry, and the obvious decision to base them upon Asian monastic orders and martial artists, it’d be simpler to just let them use any melee weapon. Various axes, clubs, hammers, maces, and so on have all been frequently used, as have swords, polearms, staves, and other weapons already included. I’ve included coverage of weaponry in a post below. Although sohei and yamabushi, for example, traditionally used bows as well, I can see prohibiting the Mystic from using such ranged weapons as desirable in enforcing a certain feel and approach.
- In the Monk’s Template's Starting Equipment, it lists “chakra” as darts, but that should be “chakram”. A “chakra” is a mystical point on the human body in Hinduism, whereas a “chakram” (also the pluralisation of same) is the Sikh sharpened metal throwing ring.
Shaman
The common tribal weapons listing should be expanded to include the javelin, short bow, and bola (all primitive, ancient weapons used around the world), and maybe the morning star too (which would cover a variety of large, vicious, two-handed warclubs, whether set with bone spikes, sharks’ teeth, or obsidian flakes). By the same token, I’d remove the short sword from their list of permitted weapons.
More to come.
Cheers!
Colin

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

I put these together some time ago, but they may prove useful/inspirational:
Chinese Melee Weapons
Bian: "Hard Whip". Not really a whip at all, the bian is a 30-35 inch long, heavy, metal baton which vaguely resembles a length of bamboo, complete with metal "knots".
Bi Shou: A common fighting knife with a small, leaf-shaped blade and ring-pommel, often wielded in pairs.
Chan Zhang: "Monk's Cudgel". A short, stout wooden stave topped with a strange striking head that most resembles a round metal cage.
Chan Zi Dao: "Cicada Wing Sword". This unusual weapon is a metal bar around 2 feet in length protected by two crescent-shaped blade handguards, each end of the bar tipped with a short, curved, single-edged blade.
Variants include:
- Qian Kun Ri Yue Dao: "Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon Sword". This weapon is almost identical to the chan zi dao, but its handguards are further apart, and its blades are more heavily curved.
Chi Shou: "Push Dagger". A simple, easily concealed weapon, the chi shou is a small, short, triangular knife blade that protrudes between the knuckles when clenched in the fist.
Da Dao: A short, broad-bladed chopping sword, single-edged, slightly curved, and blunt-ended, with a long hilt for two-handed use.
Variants include:
- Gui Tao Dao: "Ghost Head Broadsword". Da dao the back edge of which is ornamentally-shaped, often bearing a short, red horsehair tassel.
- Jiu Gou Dao: "Nine Hook Broadsword". Da dao with a back edge shaped into nine hooks, each decorated with a red horsehair tassel.
- Jiu Huan Dao: "Nine Ring Broadsword". Da dao the back edge of which is pierced by nine metal rings, jingling with each strike.
Dao: The basic Chinese Broadsword, a one-handed sword with a cup-shaped guard and curved, single-edged scimitar-like blade, the pommel often decorated with a sash tassel.
Variants include:
- Yan Zi Dao: "Swallow Tail Broadsword". Slimmer and longer than the typical dao, the yan zi dao is also used in one hand.
- Zha Dao: "Long Broadsword". Used in one hand, this slim, single-edged broadsword has a straighter blade, and S-shaped guard.
Emei Ci: "Emei Piercer". These thin metal rods are mounted on a central metal ring that is worn on the index finger, and swivel easily, each end sharpened into a thrusting point. They are used in pairs.
Er Jie Gun: "Two-Section Staff". The Chinese name for the famous nunchaku.
Feng Huo Lun: "Wind and Fire Wheel". An exotic weapon resembling a flat metal ring just over a foot in diameter, the outside edge of which is decorated by several flame-shaped blades. Always sold as a pair, and wielded as such.
Variants include:
- Ri Yue Huan: "Sun and Moon Ring". Similar to the feng huo lun, but has a plain, flat metal ring, inside of which is a crescent-shaped metal handguard.
- She Huan: "Snake Ring". Similar to the ri yue huan, the she huan also has a plain, flat metal ring, but where the ring is wrapped to form the hilt, two wavy blades project outwards.
Gou Long Cha: "Nine Dragon Trident". An extremely rare weapon used only in Choy Li Fut, this 20 lb. polearm resembles a trident, with two additional short metal arms beneath the trident head, extending at right angles from the shaft, each terminating in a T-shaped hooked blade. Beneath those additional arms is yet another additional pair of identical arms, this time extending from the shaft on the sides of it that the uppermost arms did not extend from, giving the weapon an appearance somewhat like a lethal hatstand.
Gun: A simple wooden fighting staff.
Variants include:
- Shu Wei Ba: "Rat Tail". A staff that tapers towards the ends.
Hu Cha: "Tiger Fork". A heavy, broad-head fighting trident originally used to hunt tigers.
Hu Die Dao: "Butterfly Sword". The hu die dao is used in pairs, and is a short, broad-blade, singleedged short sword, with a knuckle guard, and parrying hook at the back of the blade.
Variants include:
- Lin Jiao Dao: "Unicorn Horn Sword". This unusual short sword is used in pairs, and has a forward-curving, single edged blade, crescent-shaped blade handguard, and rear-facing parrying hooked blade.
Hu Gou: "Tiger Hook". Used and sold in pairs, hu gou are sword-like weapons, metal blades curving heavily forward near the tip to form hooks, the hilts protected by crescent-shaped metal blade handguards.
Variants include:
- Jiu Zi Gou: "Nine Teeth Hook". Used in pairs, these flat metal, sword-like weapons are tipped with spear-like points at the base of which are small, backwards-facing hooks. The hilts are protected by metal handguards the outside edges of which are shaped into nine vicious hooks.
Ji: "Halberd". The Chinese halberd is a normal spear fitted with a crescent-shaped axehead at the base of the spearhead. Some varieties affix a crescent-shaped blade to each side of the shaft.
Jian: "Straight Sword". The traditional slim, straight, double-edged Chinese sword with a triangular guard and intricate pommel tassel. Considered an elegant, noble weapon.
Variants include:
- Ci Jian: "Straight Sword Piercer". This jian has serrations along the length of its blade.
- She Xing Jian: "Snake Straight Sword". This jian has a wavy blade rather than a purely straight one, and a split tip.
Jin Gua Chui: "Golden Melon Hammer". A brutal, one-handed bludgeon, a short wooden shaft topped with a spherical, oversized, hollow metal striking head the size of a melon. Sold and wielded in pairs.
Variants include:
- Ba Ling Chui: "Eight Corner Hammer".
A less common variation of the jin gua chui, the large, metal head of which is a truncated cube.
Jin Qian Chan: "Gold Coin Spade". A wooden stave topped by a large metal striking head that resembles a pierced, ornamental Chinese coin with sharpened edges.
Kwan Dao: "General Kwan's Halberd". One of the quintessential Chinese polearms, the Kwan dao has a broad, single-edged, heavily-curved chopping head with an ornamental back edge typically sporting a short horsehair tassel.
Variants include:
- Xiang Bi Dao: "Elephant Trunk Sword". The heavy, single-edged chopping head of this kwan dao ends in a spiral said to resemble the trunk of an elephant.
Lan Ya Ban: "Wolf Teeth Club". A vicious, heavy bludgeon, the lan ya ban is a heavy wooden stave topped with a spiked metal striking head.
Lan Ya Dang: "Wolf-Teeth Spiked Trident". The tines of this slim trident are serrated and spikelike.
Variants include:
- Long Xu Cha: "Dragon Whisker Fork". A slender trident, the two outside tines of which are wavy.
- Niu Jiao Cha: "Ox Horn Fork". A slender trident-like weapon with only two tines instead of the normal three.
Lian Dao: "Sickle". The Chinese name for the Okinawan kama. Often wielded in pairs.
Li Kwei Fu: "Li Kwei's Axes". Named after a famous Chinese hero, Li Kwei fu are simple, one-handed battleaxes, short wooden hafts topped with single axeheads always sold and used in pairs.
Pa: "Rake". Its tines sharpened to inflict greater damage, the pa is a basic agricultural rake, a wooden shaft topped with a metal head.
Pan Guan Bi: "Scholar's Brush". Crafted to resemble a solid calligraphy brush of metal or wood, the pan guan bi is used in pairs to thrust and bludgeon. Also referred to as a Judge's Brush.
Pu Dao: "Horse Sword". Often called a Ma Dao, this weapon is a wooden stave of half or full length topped with a broad, single-edged, slightly curved sword blade of varying length.
Qiang: A basic spear, the wooden haft topped with a simple metal spearhead, the throat of which is often ornamented with a red horsehair tassel.
Variants include:
- Lian Dao Qiang: "Hooked Single Spear". A simple spear with a small, backwards facing metal hook fitted to the base of the spearhead.
- She Qiang: "Snake Spear". A spear with a wavy striking head.
- Shuang Tou Qiang: "Double Headed Spear". A spear, but with a striking head mounted at each end of the shaft.
Qi Jie Bian: "Seven Section Whip". Wielded onehanded, the qi jie bian links seven short, slim metal rods together, attaching them to a wooden hilt, creating a flailing weapon around 4-foot in length.
Variants include:
- San Jie Bian: "Three Section Whip". The san jie bian is identical to the qi jie bian but has three longer sections instead of seven shorter ones.
San Jie Gun: "Three Section Staff". A common martial arts' weapon that combines three longer batons of wood in the same way the famous nunchaku combines two.
Shuang Shou Dao: "Two-Handed Broadsword". Also referred to as a "Bagua Dao" on account of it being used almost exclusively with that martial art, the shuang shou dao is a massively oversized dan dao, the blade of which is typically over four feet in length.
Tie Shan: "Steel Fan". A large, decorative, silkcovered folding fan, the tines of which are metal and may be sharpened. When folded it is also used as a light baton. Often used in pairs.
Xiong Dao: "Rooster Blade". This exotic weapon looks like a flattened metal tonfa, with a spearlike thrusting point, and hooked handguard. Always sold and wielded in pairs.
Yuan Yang Chan: "Mandarin Duck Spade". More accurately a variety of axe, the yuan yang chan is a large axehead with a very short handle, the bottom of which is tipped with a barbed thrusting point. It is used in pairs.
Yue: "Long Stick Axe". A basic poleaxe with a single large axehead affixed to the top of a wooden stave.
Yue Ya Chan: "Monk's Spade". A wooden stave topped on one end with a sharpened shovel-like head, and the other by a crescent-shaped blade.
Yuen Yang Yue: "Mandarin Duck Blades". A paired weapon, the yuen yang yue is formed from two large interlocking crescent-shaped blades. Also commonly called Deerhorn Knives.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Non-Bow/Crossbow Chinese Ranged Weapons
Liu Xing Chui: "Meteor Hammer". Similar to the sen biao, the liu xing chui has a 10-foot length of cord each end tipped with a metal ovoid the size and shape of a duck's egg.
Variants include:
- Sen Biao: "Rope Dart". This flexible weapon is a 10-foot length of cord tipped with a short, blunted metal dart, often decorated with a red horsehair tassel. It may be used to whip, entangle, or strike at range.
- Shuang Tao Fei Chui: "Flying Weight". Similar to the sen biao, the shuang tao fei chui has a 10-foot length of cord with a conical metal weight at one end.
Luohan Qian: "Arhat Coin". Used much like the Japanese shuriken, luohan qian are simply sharpened ornamental Chinese coins.
Zi Mu Chui: "Mother and Son Hammer". Also called a Ri Kun Chui (Sun and Earth Hammer), this dangerous weapon is a 10 foot length of chain with a hollow melon-sized metal sphere at one end, and a slightly smaller hollow metal sphere at the other.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Japanese Melee Weapons
Aiguchi: A short, single-edged, slightly-curved knife with no guard.
Ashiko/ Shuko: Ninja climbing claws consisting of leather or metal band from which several short spikes or claws project to provide extra purchase on the surface being climbed. Ashiko are worn on the feet, shuko on the hands, and both can enhance an unarmed strike with their spikes.
Bo: A normal fighting staff.
Bokken: A sturdy, blunt wooden practice katana.
Eku: A fisherman's wooden oar, a wooden stave usually 5 to 6 feet in length, nearly half the length of which is a slender, flat wooden paddle. This Okinawan device is used like a bo, though the paddle also lends itself to blunt chopping blows.
Hachiwara: Somewhat akin to the jitte and sai, the hachiwara is a curved iron bar tapering to a point, a small metal hook projecting from the base of the bar just above the hilt, typically used in the wielder's off-hand as a parrying device.
Hari: A hari is a long, slim pin resembling the pins used by women to keep their hair in place. Kunoichi use hari not only for this mundane function, but also as handy weapons for throwing and stabbing.
Jitte: Common among doshin, the jitte, also called a jutte, is a slim, 18-inch metal baton with a single large parrying hook at the top of the hilt, designed to parry and trap attacking weapons.
Jo: The jo is a heavy, katana-length wooden baton, wielded using both hands.
Jumonji Yari: The jumonji yari is a spear with two forward facing blades projecting from the base of the spearhead, creating a vaguely trident-like array.
Kaginawa: More a tool than a weapon, the kaginawa is a simple iron grappling hook attached to a length of cord suitable for climbing. Ninja also commonly use it as a weapon, swinging the grappling hook in deadly arcs or using the cord to entangle.
Kakute: The kakute is a favored weapon of the kunoichi, a simple metal ring worn on the finger, adorned with one or two small spikes or blades, worn reversed to conceal the blades or spikes. It is used to scratch a victim, usually delivering whatever poison it has been coated with.
Kama: Derived from the Okinawan peasant sickle, the kama has a short wooden shaft topped with a slightly curved, single-edged blade set at a 90-degree angle to the shaft.
Kamayari: A common spear derivation, the kamayari features one or two kama blades at the base of the spearhead, forming backwards facing hooks. Used during boarding actions to pull vessels closer, to hook over obstacles to provide means of climbing, and to hook opponents.
Katana: The katana is the quintessential samurai sword, a slightly curved, slim, singlededged cutting sword designed to be wielded with both hands. Carried with the wakizashi as "Daisho" (Long and Short), the samurai caste's badge of office.
Kogatana: A small knife kept in a pocket on the side of the saya (scabbard) of the occasional katana or wakizashi, the kogatana is a utility blade that can also be easily thrown and is often fitted with a kozuka (decorative hilt).
Kubikiri: An unusual knife similar in size to the tanto and aiguchi, the kubikiri has a blunt tip and curved blade, unusual in that its cutting edge is on the inside of the curve. It is traditionally used to cut the head from a slain opponent, the bundori, for use as a trophy.
Kunai: The kunai is a device of the ninja, a cheap, elementary knife with a leaf-shaped blade and small, cord-wrapped handle. It is suitable for use in melee, thrown, or as a general utility knife and tool suitable for hammering, digging, lashing to poles, and the like.
Kusari-Gama: The kusari-gama is a combination weapon, attaching a length of weighted chain to a kama, creating a weapon that can be used to entangle and strike.
Kwaiken: A small, elegant tanto carried by many female courtiers, and is usually reserved for use in seppuku.
Kyoketsu-Shogi: A ninja tool and weapon, the kyoketsu-shogi is a large knife of poor manufacture with a straight blade and hooked blade at its base. Attached to the bottom of the hilt is a 12-foot length of cord weighted with an iron ring. It serves as a crude kusari-gama or grappling hook and cord depending on need.
Manriki-Kusari: This basic weapon is a length of chain, weighted on each end, used to entangle and strike.
Masakari: The masakari is a simple handaxe often used by yamabushi.
Nagamaki: This polearm is a katana-like blade with a 30-inch hilt.
Naginata: This polearm was favored by samurai-ko and monks, and is a wooden stave topped with a wakizashi-like cutting blade.
Nekote: The "cat's claws" favored by kunoichi, nekote are short, sharp metal claws attached to leather bands, one worn on each finger, enabling the wearer to slash and claw with their fingertips. They are sometimes dipped in poison prior to use.
Ninja-To: The ninja-to, the sword of the ninja, is much like a poor quality katana. However, it may have an enlarged tsuba (handguard) that allows it to be used as a step, a removable cap on the end of the saya so it can be used as a snorkel, a small hidden compartment in the handle, and often has climbing cord wrapped around the saya.
No Dachi: A greatsword, the no dachi looks like a much enlarged katana, five-foot in length.
Nunchaku: Among the most famous of martial arts weapons, the Okinawan nunchaku is formed from two short wooden batons, connected by a short length of doubled cord or chain.
Nunti: A rare weapon identical in purpose to the sai and jitte, the nunti is a metal bar a foot and a half long, tapered at both ends, two prongs projecting from its center in opposite directions. Either end may be held or used to attack or defend with. Some nunti are affixed to the tops of staves (Nunti-Bo). It is sometimes referred to as a manji sai.
Nunti-Bo: A nunti affixed to the top of a staff, the nunti-bo is a rare weapon, a crude device used to disarm attackers like a sai or jitte, but with the benefit of extra reach.
Ono: The ono is a basic poleaxe, a single axehead affixed to the top of a stout stave, and is often favored by yamabushi.
Rochin: An Okinawan short spear typically between 1 and 2 feet in length, the rochin is a simple wooden shaft fitted with a small metal spear head, and is almost always used in conjunction with the tinbe, wielded as a melee weapon, but also balanced for throwing.
Sai: Identical to the jitte in all ways, save for having two parrying prongs rather than one, the Okinawan sai is commonly used in pairs.
Sansetsukon: This is a typical three-section staff that combines three longer batons of wood in the same way the famous nunchaku combines two.
Sasumata: The "man catcher" is a weapon often wielded by doshin to subdue rowdy or violent lawbreakers. It is a stout stave with a broad, Y-shaped end that could be used to push back or restrain opponents. The Y-shaped end was sometimes barbed and hooked so as to make it harder to escape.
Shakujo: The shakujo is an ornamental staff carried by some Buddhist priests, the top of the staff affixed with a decorative metal ring from which six metal rings hang and rattle.
Shinai: The shinai is a bamboo katana used in the martial art of Kendo.
Sodegarami: The "sleeve entangler" was used by doshin. It is a stout pole, sometimes T-shaped, the end of which was festooned with barbs and hooks that could be used to catch on an opponent's clothing, hindering them.
Suruchin: Simple and easily made, the suruchin is a short length of rough rope with a small rock or pebble lashed at each end creating a crude and less durable device similar to the manriki-kusari.
Tanto: The archetypal Japanese knife, singleedged, slightly-curved, and with a small tsuba(handguard).
Tekko: Used to reinforce a punch, the tekko is a basic fistload, be it a set of "brass knuckles" made of carved wood, iron, or bone, or simply an iron horseshoe, one half held in the palm, the other projecting over the knuckles.
Tessen: Combat-worthy fans including the Sensu, a folding, metal ribbed, silk-covered fan, and the Gunsen, a rigid, paddle-like fan also used as a signalling device by samurai commanders. Some tessen were simply wooden batons carved to look like folded fans.
Tetsubo: This large, two-handed club resembles an oversized baseball bat reinforced with studded iron strips.
Tonfa: The tonfa is an Okinawan creation, a rice mill handle that resembles a wooden baton with a short handle attached. It is often used in pairs, and is the inspiration for the "nightstick" carried by some modern police forces.
Wakizashi: Carried as part of a samurai's Daisho, the wakizashi resembles a katana but is much shorter, and is often used as a backup weapon.
Yari: The Japanese spear, a wooden stave mounted with a straight, double-edged knifelike blade, used by ashigaru and samurai alike.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Non-Bow/Crossbow Japanese Ranged Weapons
Fukiya: A blowpipe used by ninja to fire poisoned darts, often made from a hollowed out length of bamboo.
Shuriken: Famous "throwing stars" of the ninja, shuriken include stars, discs, and darts, and are commonly used to discourage pursuers.
Uchi-Ne: The uchi-ne is a throwing dart used by some samurai, typically a foot long, a stout wooden shaft affixed with a sharpened metal head several inches in length. To stabilize the dart in flight the shaft is often affixed with feathers, or a fur tassel at the base of the head. It can also be held and used to stab.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

I can provide similar details for weaponry from India (Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh), Hawaii, Indonesia, etc. too.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Now, some Template Notes
Assassin - Bounty Hunter
Shouldn't the BH's "curved sword" be noted as being a type of short sword (as the various scimitars, yataghans, etc. are all gathered together under the short sword entry)?
Fighter - Thug
I'd probably replace the morning star here with a plain old club and dagger, the two weapons most associated with thugs.
Fighter - Ravager
A saexe is not a "hand axe"; it's a "dagger" (though some were long and heavy enough to fall under "short sword"). As you're obviously going for an Anglo-Saxon or Viking-styled theme here, I'd replace "double-bladed great axe" with "long bearded axe" too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saex
Fighter - Gladiator
Style-wise, I'd replace "gilded swords" with "gilded short swords".
Fighter - Legionary
Again, I'd replace "military-issue sword" with "military-issue short sword" as the legionary fighting style effectively prohibited the use of longer-bladed swords.
More to come.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Mystic Templates
* Replace all instances of "bo stick" with just "bo" (or "bo staff" if you really have to).
* Replace all instances of "chakra" with "chakram".
* Consider replacing "dragon crescent blade", "coiling dragon staff", and "willow leaf sabers" with appropriate real weapons from the list of Chinese weapons I provided above. For instance, you might use "Dragon Whisker Fork", "Seven-Section Whip", and "Swallow Tail Broadsword" instead.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Just saw the Nomad entry in the Shaman templates, so can see keeping the Short Sword for bedouin-style tribes too. Ignore that prior note.
As you're including horse- and camel-mounted nomads though, you definitely need to include the short bow and compound bow in the Shaman class' list of permitted weapons.
Colin

demoss
Player's Companion BackerDwimmermount Backer
Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

Funny, I'd want to go the other way. Replace all instances of "bo stick" with "staff", and "chakram" with "specialized throwing weapon", or an entirely fictional name, like "Jade Blossom Knife".
Real-world references in names ground things in a bad way for me -- if the class was actually a Sufi class, then chakram would make sense. Since it's not... yuck.
Plus, cheap orientalism is not only cheap... it's orientalism.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

The only issue with using "made up names" is that then necessitates some kind of description/explanation as to what a "golden lizard dagger" looks like, and that's wasted space, imo.
So, I'd either say stick to the generic weapon names (short sword, dart, pole arm, etc.) or use real world ones, but use them correctly. I'd be happy with either, to be honest, and I've used both approaches myself such as when I revised the d20 D&D classes for the Iron Kingdoms (in Lock & Load), helped revise some class elements in Castles & Crusades, etc. Heck, in my own Atomic Highway RPG, I went the generic entry route rather than specifics (whereas in Secrets of the Surface World for Hollow Earth Expedition, I went into serious real world detail).
Colin

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

In the interests of the generic approach, here are the principle weapons used that would probably form the list of a revised Mystic:
Club, Dagger, Dart, Flail, Great Axe, Hand Axe, Mace, Morning Star, Pole Arm, Short Sword, Spear, Staff, Sword, Two-Handed Sword, Whip
Use those and you've covered the bases of nearly all the martial arts-style weapons anyway.
Colin

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

I don't have an issue with "cheap orientalism" (let's face it, D&D and its spin-offs have always been a melange of cheap occidentalism and orientalism pop culture, rife with mish-mashes, inaccuracies and anachronisms), but it occurs to me that there might be some disconnect. On one hand, many of the templates are generic, but on the other, a lot are obviously campaign specific. The Mystic templates seem to be neither one nor the other.
Colin

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

I prefer the use of made-up names to real-world terms, but overall I think the generic terms would make the mystics less culturally bound e.g. If I wanted to play a mystic in a faux-European setting and I've carrying a Bo while everyone else has a staff. I wouldn't want every mystic to have to be a foreigner.
I suppose if you're visualising mystics as having lived a sheltered life in ancient secluded monsteries bound my reverance to the past you can argue they're have weird weapons from another age.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Assassin - Bounty Hunter: Shouldn't the BH's "curved sword" be noted as being a type of short sword (as the various scimitars, yataghans, etc. are all gathered together under the short sword entry)?
APM: It's not intended to be a scimitar or other short sword. It's a sword (capable of being wielded one or two handed) that happens to be curved. I didn't want to call it a katana, but that's what I was envisioning.
Fighter - Thug
I'd probably replace the morning star here with a plain old club and dagger, the two weapons most associated with thugs.
APM: In ACKS, a morning star includes any clubs designed exclusively for two-handed use. It's a big club. I can change the template to say "huge club" and then note that a huge club is a morning star, I guess.
Fighter - Ravager
A saexe is not a "hand axe"; it's a "dagger" (though some were long and heavy enough to fall under "short sword"). As you're obviously going for an Anglo-Saxon or Viking-styled theme here, I'd replace "double-bladed great axe" with "long bearded axe" too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saex
APM: Good catch. The weapon I was actually thinking of is the francisca. I'll fix that.
Fighter - Gladiator
Style-wise, I'd replace "gilded swords" with "gilded short swords".
APM: His swords are not short swords.
Fighter - Legionary
Again, I'd replace "military-issue sword" with "military-issue short sword" as the legionary fighting style effectively prohibited the use of longer-bladed swords.
APM: The Auran legionaries use swords, not short swords. Auran legionaries fight in wider formation than Roman legionaries because of the threat of magic.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

As you're including horse- and camel-mounted nomads though, you definitely need to include the short bow and compound bow in the Shaman class' list of permitted weapons.
APM: Alsas, no can do. I'm working with a fixed total number of weapon slots available to the Shaman (based on the Character Creation rules), so that would only be possible by removing some of the other weapons from the list. Moreover, I think giving the Shaman access to the bow would tip the balance of the class to be too powerful relative to, e.g., the Cleric. Shaman + wolf companion + composite bow would be a World of Warcraft Hunter, not what is intended.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

About the mystic, what a controversy!
My intent with the mystic class is: (1) they primarily come from Somirea (which is Indo-Persian in aesthetic) and (2) they use weird, exotic weapons, all of which really existed.
The weapons on the list that you think are made-up, such as "dragon crescent blade", "coiling dragon staff", and "willow leaf sabers", are word-for-word translations of names for actual Chinese weapons. I didn't use the Chinese names because I didn't want to suggest a specifically Chinese background. I though the names used were visually evocative and told a story as to what the weapon looked like.
For the Chakram, I used the actual name because (1) the Mystic in-campaign comes from an Indo-Persian culture, and (2) since Xena uses a Chakram, the weapon has passed into the generic fantasy vocabulary just as "katana" has. I could call it a "throwing disc" but then people will ask why I didn't call it a chakram, or why they're fighting with a frisbee.
As far as bo stick, it's not either a proper Japanese or Chinese name for the weapon, being really an English hodgepodge word. That said, everyone knows what a bo stick is, and why it's different from an English quarterstaff.
I'm not 100% happy with the outcome and happy to develop a more consistent approach but the above should at least outline the thinking.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

APM: Assassin - Bounty Hunter
It's not intended to be a scimitar or other short sword. It's a sword (capable of being wielded one or two handed) that happens to be curved. I didn't want to call it a katana, but that's what I was envisioning.
CC: Hmm, if you want to avoid the name "katana" and its associated baggage, how about the Turkish-originated "kilij"? It would fit the Auran setting better, and is a truly lethal weapon.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilij
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVMXhcjbYc - Kilij in action
APM: Gladiator and Legionary are Auran-specific takes
CC: Aha, cool, it wasn't clear that they were specifically Auran rather than more generic templates.
APM: Mystic Templates are primarily Indo-Persian.
CC: If you're going for a heavy Indo-Persian vibe with them (including keeping the Chakram named as such), would you prefer weapon alternatives that are less clearly Chinese in aesthetic name-wise? Let's face it, the moment you find a weapon called a "dragon this" or "willow leaf that", you've obviously entered Chinese weapon-naming territory, so you've got a mish-mash of Japanese/Okinawan, Indian, and translated Chinese weapon names all in the same entries that are supposed to be Indo-Persian themed.
Some of the weapons used in Gatka, Kalaripayattu, and Shastar Vidya are very cool, not to mention historical weapons used by the likes of the Mughals. Some suggestions:
* "Bo Stick": Replace with "Lathi" (it's still a fighting staff, just using the Hindi term)
* "Willow Leaf Sabers": There are all sorts of beautiful Indo-Persian curved swords that could've been used here, but they've all been listed as "Short Swords" in ACKS, and the WLS is described as a "Sword". So, how about replacing the WLS with the exotic Indian "Khanda" sword (which would fit more appropriately under the normal "Sword" entry as well)?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khanda_(sword)
* "Dragon Crescent Blade": Could be replaced with "Trishula" (an Indian trident-like bladed pole arm).
* "Coiling Dragon Staff": Could be replaced with the "Cumberjung" double-ended Indian flail.
http://blog.royalarmouries.org/2011/08/05/quoit-dangerous/
Having the Lathi, Chakram, Khanda, Trishula, and Cumberjung unifies things nicely and really helps get across the Indo-Persian aesthetic.
cheers!
Colin

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Colin - these are great suggestions, thank you. I'll follow up on the links you provided and incorporate them into the next iteration.
I deeply appreciate the time and effort you went in to on the forum posts above to provide those weapon descriptions. As you may have gathered from the Weapon Descriptions in the Core Rules of ACKS, I enjoy working out which historical weapons equate to which ACKS weapons.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

OMG - not only do the templates make ACKS a bit WFRP (Dwarven Pest Controller with Terriers!), now it's getting a bit Tunnels & Trolls with the exotic weapons. Taking other rpgs and robbin' their stuff = excellent !

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

No worries, mate. I'm a big nut about historical and cultural weaponry and MArts, and being in the UK I've had the fortune to be able to watch displays of various Indian martial arts. I was tickled pink to see the illo. of the fighter wielding a pair of pata-like gauntlet swords on page 239. The pic on page 208 has also inspired me to put together an optional random Drunken Debauchery table to part characters from their hard-earned treasure. Results such as:
40 - I Here Swear! You made a foolish pledge, loudly and in public to do something potentially dangerous. Roll 1d6: 1-2 = Clear Nearest Monster Den/Ruin, 3-4 = Bring Down Local Bandits/Thieves/Thugs, 5-6 = Steal Valuable From Important Local (Roll as in Dangerous Liaison! to determine who).
41 - Just Married! You wake up to find someone claiming to be your new wife/husband! Roll 1d6: 1-2 = Attractive, 3-4 = Average, 5 = Ugly, 6 = Pass the bucket! Judge also secretly rolls 1d6: 1-3 = It’s a con attempt, 4-6 = It’s true.
42 - My Land! You gambled/spent all of your loot and acquired the deeds to something! Roll 1d6: 1-2 = Disreputable Inn, 3 = Nearest Ruin, 4 = Plot of Wildland, 5-6 = Run-Down Farm. Judge secretly rolls 1d6: 1-4 = It’s a fake, 5-6 = It’s legitimate.
43-44 - My Precious! You spent half of your loot on a truly gaudy but otherwise unremarkable item. Roll 1d6: 1 = Armour, 2 = Garment, 3-4 = Jewellery Piece, 5 = Shield, 6 = Weapon. Actual item should be determined by Judge based on amount spent, cost of such items, and the character’s preferences.
It's a very early draft, but you get the idea.
Colin

luftmensch
Player's Companion Backer
Joined: 2012-02-10 14:21

Nice!
Knowing my players, I'd get a lot of use out of that.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Regarding "charkam" v. "chakra", E. Jaiwant Paul, Arms and Armour: Traditional Weapons of India lists the plural of chakram as chakra. I've switched to "chakram" for now but I'm quite confused.
Here are the weapons that will appear in the next iteration of the mystic:: The lathi (“stick”) is a type of staff. The chakram (“war ring”) is a type of dart. The trishula (“triple spear”) is a type of pole arm. The cumberjung (“double-ended flail”) is a type of flail. The khanda (“destroyer”) is a type of sword. The chuttuval (“coiling sword”) is a type of whip. The haladie (“double bladed dagger”) is a type of short sword. The bagh nakh (“tiger’s claws”) is a type of dagger. The barcha is a type of spear. The tulwar is a type of short sword.
That said, the names are *so* foreign to most readers that I might switch them to their English translations.
For example, what would you prefer to see:
Urumi, pair of haladie, pair of bagh nakh, grey robe with hood, leather belt, low boots, backpack, 2 week’s iron rations, 2 doses of giant centipede poison, 10gp
Coiling sword, pair of double-bladed daggers, pair of tiger's claws, grey robe with hood, leather belt, low boots, backpack, 2 week’s iron rations, 2 doses of giant centipede poison, 10gp

demoss
Player's Companion BackerDwimmermount Backer
Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

I /much/ prefer the second one.

blizack
Joined: 2011-07-16 15:35

I'm with demoss. I prefer the second one.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

2nd option seems much better to me too. It has the flavour without the cultural disconnect.

James S
Adventurer Conqueror King BackerPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

The vast majority of your players will not be scholars of foreign martial arts, so whilst the 'real' names are historically accurate, evocative and in some cases beautiful, what they are decidedly *not* is accessible.
You've made a great effort to make ACKS accessible, paring back complex concepts where you can, trying to make the rules easy to read, easy to understand, and so on. I'd caution about undermining that with imposing the cognitive load of cultural translation. (Some might say people should broaden their minds, and I do agree, but balance that against desires for commercial success)
Tl;dr - 2nd one is better.
If you've got the room, add the cultural names to the weapon descriptions, or even have a table where you can list the different cultural names (e.g. Staff - Lathi - Bo - etc.. )

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

I can see what folks are saying, though if you go with the second approach (coiling sword, et al.) I'd still have a footnote, but have it displaying the actual names of the weapons (khanda, etc.). Basically, a reversal of the current approach.
Having the real world names there (whether in the initial entries or footnotes) is a good thing, in my opinion; when I started gaming, for example, I had no freaking clue what a glaive was, let alone a bohemian ear spoon, but in short order, I learned. These days, where an explanation is a few measly seconds away on Google, broadening your knowledge is faster and easier by several orders of magnitude.
Not having them in there loses a lot of flavour, so one way or the other, they should be present. Furthermore, some of the English names can actually lead to confusion if you don't have the actual original names present; try a search for "tiger's claws" for example. At least if you look for "bagh nakh" you'll actually find the weapon!
Colin

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Here's my current thoughts on presentation.
Notes: The Mystic templates above use weapons drawn from Indian and Chinese martial arts.
•A war ring (or “chakram”) is a sharpened metal hoop 4.5” in diameter. Treat it as a dart for game purposes.
•An elephant trunk blade (or “xiang bi dao”) is a halberd with a single-edged chopping head resembling the trunk of an elephant. Treat it as a pole arm for game purposes.
•A coiling blade (or “chuttuval”) is an edged band of thin steel, 4-5’ in length, flexible enough to be coiled in a tight roll. Treat it as a whip for game purposes.
•A double bladed dagger (or “haladie”) is a dagger with two opposite blades attached to a central handle. Each blade is 6”-9” long. Treat it as a short sword for game purposes.
•A set of tiger’s claws (or “bagh nakh”) includes five curved blades affixed to a glove or handgrip. Threat it as a dagger for game purposes.
•A tulwar is a short, curved blade similar to a scimitar. Treat it as a short sword for game purposes.
NOTE that I included one Chinese weapon, "the elephant trunk blade". I was not impressed by the names and aesthetics of the Indian polearms I found, while the idea of an elephant-trunk blade totally resonated with me. Since the Mystic is "Somirean" not Indian I have no problem with assuming that the Somireans (who use war elephants) have elephant trunk blades.

Radioactive Ape...
Joined: 2012-02-02 19:39

Sounds fine to me. By the way, if you want a Hindi translation for flavour, "Elephant Trunk Blade" would be "Haathi Soond Chaku".
Colin