All Mauled Up


Are two heads better than one? Maybe, maybe not, but certainly a double-bladed axe is better than a single bladed axe. Or is it? Is double your pleasure always double your fun? Apparently so, according to the new Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

The most important aspect of Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons is the two headed pole arm.

Oh, you will be bragging to your children about other things, but the dual weapons stand to be the most influential aspect of the newest edition. I suppose they cannot be rightfully singled out, but they do stand out as an example of particular weight.

The inspiration to write this comes from Aeon's comments on Hobbitry, found in his column on, simply to give credit where it is due. His column allowed me to put together dimensions of the argument that had lonesome. Though I disagree with final conclusion, all his writing is still good stuff and worth the read.

Why at all are we seeing dual weapons in Third Edition? The obvious answer is the attention given to them by The Phantom Menace. Quite similar to the way that there was an increase in attention to the dual wielding rules after the popularity of a certain Drow ranger. But the designers took the idea far a field from the original concept. After all, the dual blade is pretty effective when it is an arc of cohesive light. No need to worry about hitting with the cutting edge because they all are. It is more like a nasty quarterstaff. In Third Edition, however, there are vast array of them, and none specifically magical. WoTC has many other weapons, all based around the same principle of being deadly on both sides.

My personal favorite is the dual headed, double headed axe. What was the primary symbol of fantasy at its most gratuitous made even more so. They added to the ranks a vast and dangerous looking assortment of armaments, some, I am certain, as dangerous for the wielder as any opponent. The reason why is obvious: coolness. They look neat, fearsome, and powerful. They are a whole new set of rules to master, tweak, abuse and otherwise enjoy.

But did the old coolness not matter? The old coolness was, of course, Unearthed Arcana. The old coolness was a list of pole arms capable of astounding most military historians. That listing, at best, looked pedantic, like walking around in the arms and armor section in the art museum. Third Edition's weapons' listing is of a fearsome visage, and not just the dual weapons. This is more reminiscent of a very, very well equipped soldier at inspection, or perhaps the table they set out outside of the courthouse with all the confiscated items. No more shadowy profiles here. All the weapons are drawn in heavily inked line. There are no specific groupings, other than what fit together on the page. True, it is now easy to see what the differences between a broad, long, and bastard sword are, but they also share the page with Sais and quadra-flails, weapons that came from other cultures as well as ones that never existed.

Now, are you surprised? Not at the repeating crossbow, but are you surprised at my idea? After all, the primary reason d'etre of a third edition has little to do with pole arms, and everything to do with rules, so would it not be rules that are the most important? Revolutions in rules are few and far between, and a real revolution could not exist in terms of rules without whole new ways of doing things. D&D is still a game with many dice, though one has been proclaimed as first and foremost. The D20/OGL affair is important, almost too important to judge as the critical thing. It stands to change the way that we play games, but whether that will or will not happen has let to work itself out. D20 certainly has the advantage of visibility, but that does not mandate it becoming the lingua franca of the gaming world. It stands a good chance, but who can tell? Besides, D20/OGL is not intended to change Dungeons and Dragons. It will affect it, but it is not supposed to.

In truth, rules cannot be important because rules always follow style. Form defines function, at least in terms of role playing games, because no one sets out to create a brilliant game world because they have the neatest rule system to use. They know what they want to accomplish in terms of an idea, and they make the game, the rules, fit. But the double weapons are a drastic change, and one that reverberates in other sections of the game. It is a change in style. Style is a change in appearance, but not just a change in appearance.

A well-heralded fact is that Dungeons and Dragons derived from what would become recognized as a miniatures combat rule set. It was fighting by fantastic characters, and took from the genre of fantasy at large. Both Dungeons and Dragons and the fantasy writings had been inspired by plain history. The Epics of Beowulf, of Arthur, of Gilgamesh, or of Odysseus were all tales told by ancient peoples, and intimately connected to the ways that they actually were, some highly debatable attribute of history.

Dungeons and Dragons was rife with historical elements. The reasons are the two listed above. The weapon listings were comprehensive. It was, after all, a historical combat system. The ideas for non-historical elements came from semi-historical tales. For instance, a magical sword might be obvious, but a girdle of giant strength? Makes sense if you know the relevant myth, and thus the wacky translation slip that is going on. There were ideas that were fresh, but they came from the necessity of the situation. There is no need to search for magic missile references in ancient ledged. It fulfills a game function.

Consider the hobbit... err... halfling. Haflings were Tolkenic hobbits, through and through, pipe-smoking robbers. Why a little man in a hole should be earmarked as a thief is almost beyond me. The D&D creators took the notion from Tolken, when the hobbits are dragged along for dubious casting reasons and used them to fill in a gap that they had, to give them an attractiveness they might not otherwise have if they just liked hobbit holes and good food. It made sense to do, from both sides of the equation. They were being both referential and reverential. Not only did they fill a rule gap, but they also included another popular fantasy element in their game. Someone might want to play the character they had read about, after all.

Now, hobbits are nothing but cherubic. The picture of a halfling in the 3E manual shows them in full form of their name, just like miniature humans, without any of the Tolken-esq trappings. The note, raised by Aeon, that they seem to have acquired a leather fetish in the process should not come a surprise. It is not just our friend, the halfling who now frequents bondage night but each and every character, every monster, every picture that looks like it has been pulled from my college days. There are no more characters in glistening armor, proudly astride dead dragons. Armor now has color, and dark color with strange swirly things and body piercings. A shame they did not base more feats off of this ("looks good in leather, tattoos of power, septum attack" spring to mind).

Some one, right now, is blaming a Goth. Don't do that; they have enough problems already. Why do I not? The placement of "fire sticks" (read: matches) or whatever they are in the item list. Look at the double weapons. This is not your father's D&D. What has changed? Dungeons and Dragons has learned to stop being referential. In the past, readers of Tolken would have to be explained why it was their wizard could not use a sword, whereas Gandalf could. Now, readers or watchers of Tolken will need to get over the D&D concept of the Orc. Dungeons and Dragons now has its own traditions and culture, which influences outward, as opposed as to it taking ones in.

But wait, what about the dual weapons? They come from a source. True, but not clearly a fantasy one. Besides, the extent to which the designers took them far surpasses anything to be found in the movie. Everyone steals ideas. But the importance is that they took it as far out as they did, not stopping with a single magical sword but making it almost seems like a commonplace idea. This is appropriation, not reverence.

Games have stood alone before from all legacies, but most of the popular ones do not. This is a break from that. It is a transition. It is a game that was referential and has started to become willfully self-referential. The designers of Dungeons and Dragons have learned that their game is popular enough to be its own right, to do its own things and does not need appropriation of any sort of spin off.

They know their position is as solid enough that they can do their own thing, the one created by years of people playing, the Dungeons and Dragons that has come about, not the one that was toted in to be popular. Hopefully, this is the beginning of people being far less limited in their games, because WoTC certainly sets the tune for the industry. As always, we shall see.

"What has changed? Dungeons and Dragons has learned to stop being referential."

I have to disagree with the quoted conclusion of this wonderfully written article. "Dungeons and Dragons" is still referential, it has just changed its point of reference to compete more effectively.

I find the layout and artwork in the new "Dungeons and Dragons" books very reminiscent of any number of Games Workshop products, particularly the out of print "Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying". GW's use of "goth" (especially for elves/eldar) and "bondage gear" (particularly for dwarves/squats) visuals, and a overall "dark" tone/setting gave their products great visual impact and appeal when they first appeared 15 or so years ago.

Given the ongoing popularity of GW games, and the "Warhammer" family in particular, this "new" approach by WOTC seems less an innovation than a safe bet on a well-known and popular formula.

I agree with your comment that 3E is certainly not the first game to put dwarves in leather. However, I don't think that they lifted it from any one source. D&D has grown up with the times and the author is right, today's players don't want to be the shining knight slaying the dragon. A lot of the new D&D image is simply a reflection of the current popular fantasy/sci-fi/horror genre.

I think the author is also correct in stating that the reason 3E can take leaps beyond intutive play (ie. double headed axes) is because of the popularity of fantasy settings and D&D in particular. Players no longer expect to understand the nuances of all the elements in a game and even expect a greater purly fictional component.

"This is not your father's D&D" is a great way to sum it up. Of course, I must give a little sigh to that notion, being a first generation player. :)

I see your point, but the analysis of the efficacy of medieval weapons based on their 'coolness' is rather misguided in my opinion. True a double-headed axe looks impressive, but historically these weapons were rarely used. For a start, as you mentioned, there is a very tangible risk of hurting yourself with the secondary blade. Perhaps more importantly, the durability of double-headed axes was very limited. Thus, the traditional Viking-style 'bearded axe' with an extended crescent shaped blade was still the most popular. Why divide the weight of the warhead between two small blades when you can have a single heavy blade? Also, the larger the curvature, the easier it is too hook the blade around the haft of an enemies' polearm in order to disarm him. This was one of the primary advantages of an axe over a sword. Those old 'musuem pieces' you mention might not look cool, but perhaps you might ponder the fact that it is these weapons which have survived to finish up in museums. How many of you have ever actually seen a genuine 'double-axe' or 'double-sword'? They just don't exist, and never did, except perhaps in an experimental capacity during which their extreme limitations must have become apparent. Basic, unglamorous weapons like spears, axes and maces won the wars of the Dark Ages, simply because in huge numbers they acheived a great deal of tactical damage with a minimum of training required. Put it this way - would you rather be a footman in a troop of pikemen, or a warrior surrounded by comrades wielding double-axes? The latter unit would be preposterous, no doubt inflicting more damage upon themselves than the enemy. By the way, my favourite weapon is the morning star. Good against armour, and easy to use.

Kick ass halflings are new? I've been playing kick ass halfling characters since I was introduced to RPGs in the mid 80's. I read the old descriptions of halflings as a stereotype. Timid, pudgy halflings may match up with what Tolkien wrote but toeing that line really narrows down the kind of character you can play. That said, I really don't like what 3rd edition has done to halflings.

I always say: "Keep the halflings barefoot, portly and in the kitchen." All of them? Of course not -- there's always going to be some black sheep who just won't settle down and behave like proper hobbits^H^H^H^H^Hhalflings should. The way I see it the advantages of playing one of these very few enthusiastic halfling adventurers should be thoroughly balanced with the disadvantages of being ostricized from halfling society. You might hack, slash and take names but you'd better not show your face at a family reunion, expect an inheritance or even common courtesy from your fellows. They can smell your kind a mile away and want nothing to do with you or your gonzo antics. Want to buy a hole with all the gold you made adventuring? Expect to get charged twice what it's worth and don't look for friendly neighbors because the sheer scandal of your presence has lowered their property values. If halflings weren't so polite they'd be burning something on your lawn.

Third edition not only removes this wrinkle, it turns halflings into an entirely different species from the planet S&M. The last part is particularly sad because while leather and piercings may play well today, it's going to age about as well as The Matrix (yes, Virginia in a few years pounding techno and leather trenchcoats will be as fashionable as disco and platform shoes were in 1985 -- Matrix 3 might even have to be a period piece).

As for the Entertainment Weekly photo cited in the article, I think the jury is still out on exactly what kind of hobbits we'll be seeing in the LotR films. Maybe I'm wrong, but I took one look at the first internet trailer and said to myself "Those aren't actors, that's not makeup -- those are hobbits! REAL hobbits!" Everything I've seen since seems to back this first impression up. The second trailer has many shots of hobbits in various states of uncertainty, unhappiness and sheer terror. This is what LotR is all about! Ordinary hobbits being scared shitless and taken entirely out of their element yet (somehow) managing to do extraordinary things! My guess (and my sincere hope) is that the Entertainment Weekly photo is not representative of what we will be seeing in the film but was intentionally "toughened up" because it was determined that this would appeal to the readers of that particular magazine.

My guess (and my sincere hope) is that the

Entertainment Weekly photo is not representative

of what we will be seeing in the film but was

intentionally "toughened up" because it was

determined that this would appeal to the

readers of that particular magazine.

Yes, quite obviously. The point I was making in the article was that the media (which is a big, broad word that means a lot of things) was taking actors playing hobbits and making them look like gang members. So whether they're wearing leather jackets in the movie or not, the implication that they're tougher than Hell is still being made.

I find it a bit sad that the game has lost what realism it had.

I mean double weapons should have greater chances of fumbling right? At least for people without the exotic weapon proficiency.

The space required for weapons rule has long been shelved because it represented way too much book keeping and almost no one used it. But I've had to argue with a DM that manages his game like it's a computer game (even though he's never played Diablo and the likes) Yes, with him it is possible to fight a bunch of orcs with double headed axes who don't hit one another, eventhough they are using these cumbersome weapons.

That being said, I still find these weapons to be cool looking, but for heroes and main bad guys. It's just like the two weapon style (which I still don't understand why all rangers know). It looses all it's effect if every person you meet carries a double axe or the stereotypical two scimitars.

As for the LARP adept look of 3E you can be sure as hell that halflings (which we never stopped calling hobbits, laughlings or ti-culs) are still pudgy in my game, tight leather and piercing is out in most kindoms and most gnomes still look and dress like garden gnomes.

That being said I pray for the day the Matrix look is far behind us and wearing color becomes socialy acceptable again :)

Vive le Seigneur des Anneaux et Tolkien!

Cthulhu Matata!

I personally perfer 3rd Edition's slightly darker feel. Yes, teh sorcerer is wearing belts for pants, and yes, the drawing of a halfling looks like a micro-elf, but I perfer the idea that, for example, whole sections of the halfling race aren't stuck in burrows, smoking pipeweed and having 7 meals a day (when they can get them). In this day and age, when FA gets sued for copying the Marauder from Macross and stealing Gundam designs, do you really think WotC wants to be stuck holding a perfect rendition of a hobbit?
As for double weapons, well, that's why they're an exotic proficiency.. You have to take at least 3 feats to use both ends effectively. I like having the realistic drawings of various weapons to look at, even if they're not grouped by type or anything else, instead of a shadowy silhouette. Your battleaxe can look like anything you want, but it's nice to have a basis to start from and to know what the 'average' weapon will look like, the ones you see guards and such holding. Yes, YOUR crossbow may look like the blacksmith had hiccups and be an embarassing shade of pink, and leave a trail of hearts behind the arrow... but it's got a +4 undead-bane enchantment, right?
In general there's nothing I find particularly wrong with the art, given some common sense. No, I'm not going to wear pants made of belts or a leather catsuit, but maybe everyone already knows what a mighty paladin in full plate looks like. Maybe they wanted to get away from the stereotypical looks and give you a few more ideas of what your character might actually wear!

I'm all for new fantasy images, and glad to see any departure from what Tolkein set out. (Not that I don't love the Ring cycle.) Discussion of realism in games always makes me a little grouchy, anyway. I'm not sure I want to play a game where I'm a European serf who has a damn good chance of dying of disease or starvation at any given moment.

Points taken Joel and Aubri


D.P. - You're right, kick ass halflings aren't new. But there's kick ass like the Monsterious Compendium, and then there's bad ass.

Joel - You're right too, or rather, I don't disagree with you at all. However, I do believe that there was a pretense on the part of TSR towards realism, and that pretense has become largely abandoned.

Overall, I'm not entirely sure that "darker" is the best way to look at these things. It's not just darker. Sure, the theif looks like a Sluagh, but that's not true of every picture. Yes, there's an awful lot of leather, but leather armor was always pretty popular, and what did you think that it looked like?

I value the other things: languages, weapons, equipment, meta magic and meta feats, as more important that just the pictures. But let us consider the pictures.

My favorite picture in the second edition book is the one at the beginning, of the party with the small slain dragon. Compare that to the pictures in the 3E book in general. If you were about to go on an adventure in the pseudo middle ages, you would wear what the people in the 2E book are wearing. However, you would want to be wearing what the 3E people were wearing. It has style, not practicallty or historical precedent.

That, so to speak, is the turning point. Toss aside all pretensions of adhereing to an old image of fantasy, and cleave to a new one, certainly infused with modern hipness, but, more importantly, with hipness at all.

So, to fuse off of Aubri, back in the day I think that people saw themselves in the old pictures. In fact, I think that many still do. However, 3E is trying to reinvigorate things by saying, in effect, "yes, you can image your characters however you want to, and it's perfectly acceptible to blend old and new school."

Actually I've had a thought about the new look of D&D, could it be that only adventurers look like that?

I mean this would explain why they all get "the stares" when they come into town...

You seen normal people (those who don't have character classes) dress like regular people, without all that impractical stuff that just hangs there and all the straps that take forever to do and undo. But hey, they have real jobs so they need practical clothes.

Adventurers are another matter, they need to stand out, to be noticed. I mean, who's gonna remember a mage all dressed in old grey clothes... wrong example. It's like the new NHL jerseys, they stand out. Or like in the star wars universe; the famous people (or at least those that want to be noticed) all wear extravagant head dresses or impressive armour.

Nah… even I don't buy that crap. It's just some hype to make the product more appealing to the market and it works. My girlfriend is new to gaming and she prefers the artwork of 3E to 1E. She did like 2E art (especially Elmore and the art of Planescape) but she finds that 3E artwork, although completely unrealistic looks more heroic.

I guess it must be the same principle as with super heroes and their costumes…

Cthulhu Matata

The art of Planescape was one of the major reasons I fell in love with the setting. I bought everything solely due to DiTerlizzi and those stupid pull quotes that were everywhere. Never gamed in the damn thing, but the way it was presented woo'd me.

Art-wise, I want Larry Elmore back. Elmore was Da Man. His art was heroic in that Tolkien-ish way that got me into RPing (and keeps me here still). Not that the D&D3e art is bad per se, it's just that I'd trade all the wannabe-Goth halfling monks for a good old-fashioned paladin in traditional, 15th-century-European-style field plate in the blink of an eye.

Then again I was never a big fan of monks.

The reasons come from where the two games main influence comes from. The writers of the original AD&D pulled it from wargaming. It has a wargaming/historical feel.

OK now take a look at 3rd edition today. It has a lot more in common with Magic the Gathering (feats just sound like different cards to me) , Warhammer , 40K, Vampires and video games. (body piercing & tattoo's aside)

Bad not really just different.

I disagree.

First of all, the person doing half the art comes from Changeling: The Dreaming, and if you look at it, you can see his influence everywhere. Secondly, I like the new edition because it finally gives people what they want: Freedom.

Lets face it, in 2nd edition characters were pidgeon-holed into their class. Thieves could only learn certain weapons, as if they somehow had a mental block for how a battle-axe worked. Despite the fact that wizards walked behind fighters for 20 years, they could never even think "Hey, that longsword looks pretty dangerous, maybe I should learn how to use one" At least now a wizard can tote a light crossbow around and feel a bit more protected especially at first level.

Secondly: the pictures in the begining of the book are of 1st level characters. did any of your characters have full plate at first level? My Cavalier sure didn't. He had splint mail for his first 3 levels. I don't think it's necessarily unrealistic to put the clerics, fighters, and paladins into scale mail in the pictures and saying that this is common. Because it IS. Scale is some of the best armor a 1st level character can strap on, and still afford something.

Thirdly: I think that most of us have forgotten why we play these games. Why not have double weapons? If you can fight with the two ends of a quarterstaff, then-with proper training-you should be able to fight with the two ends of anything. Take a look at the exotic oriental weapons (especially the chain ones). these are products of different cultures, people. The greyhawk setting isn't 10th century Europe, and I don't think it ever was intended to be. Furthermore, I doubt you would see any exotic weapon on the battlefield. With the exception of heavy cavalry and bastard swords-a troop type which is so expensive the extra ~10 or so gold to add a better weapon isn't too much, exotic weapons are prohibitive for a standing army.
Of course, that argument is moot, because I don't remember the last time I played bobby of the second rank, spearman who stayed with his army. Why? Because that's not adventure. If you're looking for a military simulation, D&D really isn't the game for you anyway. Yes, adventurers will create nutty weapons. Why will weaponsmiths make them? because adventurers bring in the gold.

I think that what WotC wanted to do was depart from the old "you must be like this" way of character creation. The classes are now loose groupings of skills and extra benefits which the player has a chance of actually molding into something with the selection of feats, and class, so that no two characters will be identical. If you gather 4 fighters in the same room, they will not all look the same anymore. isn't that great? Don't you want to stand out from the rest of the world and play your character in the manner that you want to? In a way that is supported by the CORE rules, and not having to afterthought weld kits into the game? I can't believe that in the mind-numbing sameness of AD&D over the past years (and go back and look at your modules, they're all the same) we can finally have a product where you see people who have classes to further their characters, not straight-jacket them into some arbitrary role!

I hear you.

Thank goodness for diversity (even if way too many people end up taking the same combos, they have a choice not to.)

First: Don't blame the artist. Someone had to hire that artist. An artist reflects what you want to see.

(Actually, this allows me for a break to also sing the prasies of DiTerlizzi. It is his 2nd ed Halfling to which I refer, a picture which still takes the brownie of bad ass).

Second 1 - Customiziblity: mostly supported by the other party in this debate, the people who think that the refrence set has just moved. I cannot deny that there has been motion towards other elements (goths & magic cards). I still hold that the conceptual break from the idea of a reference point will be the subtile, far reaching and lasting legacy.
I like the freedom too, but I don't think that freedom, at least partially derived from video games (cough...Fallout) will be as "cultrually relevant," to use a bullshit phrase.

Secondly 2 - Armor: Right, but it doesn't have to be blue. Okay, I saw no where in my reading that claimed outright these charcters were first level ones. I don't know if I agree with that decision, because that decreses from the potential I Want That! factor. Potential factor, mind you.
To wit: the armor can be scaled. It does not have to be funky. The only people with colored armor in previous editions were the Death Knights, now it looks like someone has lost the silver poilish.

Thrird - Why do we play these games?: That's another question entirely. Is a double headed weapon realistic, practical or historical? No on all counts. Were the weapons dealt with in the previous editions historical in orientation? Yes, sometimes laughingly so. Is this change bad? No. It means that the refrencality is gone, though. Stuff exists purely on the coolness factor. D&D isn't the same game. That's the issue, as opposed to any other.

And, yes, the class system opening up does have a role. With a death of genre there was a death of architype, but D&D is tied to the class system like the Captian's favorite, so we get the new thing.

3E ain't bad, but it's a big cultural change. The importance of that change is bigger than any rule.

Desperado in the Culture Wars,
Cosmic Bandito Emeritus

What is this ? some kind of game

He's a smart one, that Tj.

The only man I know who can spell an abbrieviation of his own name incorrectly.

They're called upper case letters, ya chump, coulda saved your ass right about now!

On a more serious note, though, I have to disagree Sam. As far as I'm concerned, D&D was never about historical accuracy. If you wanted to weild a double-edged sword, you could wield a double-edged sword. I was given to thinking that these weren't weapons used in war. These were elegant weapons used in mano-e-mano, one on one, duels. And in a duel, a weapon with two er... cutty bits... yes... I stand by my word use, has a noticable advantage when compared to a weapon with only one... cutty... bit...

Look at Darth Maul, daddy of all double-edged weapons. Did you ever see him leaping into hordes of soldiers and cutting them down. No. The only time you see Darth Maul actually fight is when he fights Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a three-way duel.

So, double-edged weapons could be used, but their usefulness would be limited in big battles. They're much better suited to small skirmishes with any number of combatants up to six.

Oh, and falseprophet66. You're talking rubbish about units of double-headed axemen not existing. History tells us that militias and conscript armies where composed of men armed with whatever weapons they could get their hands on, so while it might not be incredibly likely, it could be possible that some of them might have had double-headed axes. There are records of men going into war with pickaxes and farming implements, so a double-headed axe wouldn't make much difference.

Burning Pitchforks!

Olly I never said D&D was about accuracy. I said it was sad it had lost what little accuracy it had.

That being said, double weapons are not to my taste and probably never will be. The only exception being quarter staves and chain weapons.

Is it bad that I have read through the 3rd Ed PHB a few times but never really noticed the dominance of double weapons? I played 2nd Ed for so long that I allways decided what my character was like long before I opened the book for prices and stats. I did notice that the polearm list was shorter which, yes, is less historicaly accurate, but who the hell used more than two of those damn things anyway.

And I agree with Sam, I never really liked double wepons. I think this is because I am too practical, I understand how unweildy they are and wouldn't want one myself, so why give one to my character.

The ultimate sword id dtill the claymore though. Just like a Scot to make something like that. You know a bunch of blacksmiths were sitting around getting drunk and one said:
"'Ay, McMannus, nice broadsword."
"Bet I can do ya one better than that?"
"No way, this here bastard shed the blood of fifty Englishmen so far."
Both of them spit in the dirt.
"I'm gonna make the biggest browdsword ever! It's gonna be as tall as a man. The English'll piss 'emselves at the sight of it."
"Tall as a man. Can't be done ya barmy arse."

So the first guy made one. Everybody thought it was the coolest damn thing ever to come out of the highlands, not counting buxom red-heads. Before long there were whole crazy, drunk, Celtic hordes or naked weirdos with swords bigger than they were.

Which brings me to another point. Do you think they fought naked to prove that the big swords were not meant to compensate for shortcomings elsewhere? Or was it to scare guys with little pricks?

And I never blame the Goths for anything. Sacking Rome was the best thing they could have done. Those damn preppy bastards.

Claymores were actually basket hilted swords used in one hand. not much different from english backswords, or other broadswords. Claymore comes from words meaning "Great Sword". the one-handed basket hilted sword (see: Rob Roy) was The Great Sword of Scotland. the Celts never fought naked with the large two-handed swords that later took the TITLE of claymore. they fought naked back before and during the roman invasion. which is before Britain could work steel. This was before the one-handed sword, as well, at this time, they were using short cruciform swords made of bronze. they died their skin with dye made from the woad plant, and ran lime through their hair to make it stick up. this also bleached it after long enough. it wasn't til the middle ages (almost a thousand years later) that the claymores were used. they didn't fight naked anymore.

:: looking up ::

I hope they AT LEAST wore a cup or something...or tucked it 'tween yer legs... If not, you may as well paint a big red bullseye on your crotch. Because the enemy weapons will be drawn to that area.

I remember in BRAVEHEART when that poor bloke took the longsword up the front of his kilt, and I thought... DISTINCT disadvantage!

Well, my little tyraid was just halted abruptly by boring historical "accuracy".

Ass said:
"you may as well paint a big red bullseye on your crotch"

I think they DID do that.

You want impractical weapons? SWORD-CHUCKS!

The scots were always let down by bad leadrship. The only part of "Braveheart" that was accurate, was the rivalry and pettiness of their leaders.

Anyway to get back to the original topic, I prefer realistic weapons to cool looking ones. If it dont work it aint cool.

I agree with Mo, here.

I've got a small sword collection at home. Some "fancy" ones and some practical ones.

The "coolest" looking sword I own ain't worth a tinker's dam if I had to fight with it -- it just makes for good decoration. The balance is wrong, the "cool" design on the hilt makes it uncomfortable to hold, etc. It's only "cool" to look at.

The best sword I have is actually a short sword. It's light, well-balanced, not too gaudy, but detailed enough that it doesn't look vanilla...and sharp. If I were going actually use any of my swords, I'd go with that one...despite the fact that it only does 1D6 dmg rather than 2D8. Wink, wink.

1D6 is enough for any zero level burglar.
Just don't get surrounded by a pack of angry squirrels.

Honestly, Mo. Whose house gets broken into by 0 level burglars? The last time my mome was broken into the band was lead by a 12th level barbarian. Luckily I hid in the closet and got him with a backstab. He went down and I came out blastingso the band of generic 5th level fighters went down pretty quick. It's pretty handy to be a 15th level rouge. I was thinkingof multi-classing with Ranger but I'm not sure because I get mad skill ranks as a rouge.