Thursday, July 28, 2011

Weapons That Define Them

Aside from trying to differentiate the races by their interactions, I noted that most cultures can be defined by a predominant weapon that comes to define them; the samurai’s katana defines Japan, the scimitar generally denotes an Arab or Turkish soldier. Although grossly over-simplified for the purposes of television, the Deadliest Warrior (DW) show proves the point. It was during a DW marathon that I thought about the symbolism of the weapons and how they would define the races in Ihr’Vessen.

Katana: Certainly not the only race to employ this weapon, this is the symbolic weapon for the J’in Empire. A blade of finesse and honour, it requires countless hours to manufacture and equally arduous years of practise to master the weapon. It is the heart and soul of the samurai warrior, both a symbol his position within society as well as his honour. To lose a katana in anything other than combat would be unacceptable, an insult only recoverable by taking one’s own life. This symbolism and honour represents the Empire as a whole, where the code of bushido is the backbone of the culture.

Sagaris: Employing two different methods of attack, this peculiar weapon requires neither finesse nor the complexity of construction of the katana. This makes it an ideal choice for the Plainsfolk. A hand-and-a-half battle axe, it could be used with equal ease from horseback or on foot. One on side we have the axe for slashing and cutting, the other tapered into a spike for brute penetration. The dual nature of the weapon also suitably represents the culture that shows the most capacity for barbarian class warriors.

Long Bow: Representing the Elves, the long bow finds its most lethal use by their elite rangers; other races use bows, but never to such effect. The long bow is a stand-off weapon, its range allowing archers to engage their enemy without risking direct physical contact. This seems to best fit how I wanted the Elves to be portrayed. The lone superpower, they deal with the ‘lesser races’ from a distance, allowing them to develop and stumble on their own.

Kilij: Rivalling this katana for lethality, it requires neither the complex forging process nor the exacting training required. The kilij is a weapon of war, its weighted and curved blade able to penetrate heavy armour. This was most appropriate for the Free States, who deal with the ork slavers as their primary threat.

Warhammer: Although I detested the idea of falling into the trope of “hammer wielding dwarves,” it seemed to make sense given the above-mentioned symbolisms and racial contexts. Living in the mountain realm of Naro, they are artificers of note, which requires mining. This would necessitate hammer and pick. Given their location and the threats they face, it seemed appropriate then to symbolize the race with a warhammer that, like the Sagaris, employed a pike on one side, the hammer head on the other.

Spear/Javelin: Not detailed for some time in the Ochra Cycle, the ratmen live in a swampy region betwixt the dwarves of Naro and the humans of the Free States. With few resources, the use of complex metal weapons made little sense. The use of a spear fit perfectly with their environment; a hunting weapon doubling as a weapon of war. From low-tech sharpened sticks to more complex throwing constructs, this weapon symbolized ratmen the best.

Chinese War Sword: This massive weapon could only work to its full potential in the hands of an ork. What would likely be seen as a mid-sized sword to any ork would require two hands for any human of Elf. More like a cleaver, its weighted blade and heavy shaft make it the definitive weapon for a race who brutalizes its victims and takes slaves of the survivors.

No comments:

Post a Comment