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On the Origin of Weaponry


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Firstly, Mods I'm am unsure of precisely where in the Great Book of BRP/RQ Goodness this ought to go. Feel free to move it to wherever you think it best fits.

 

On the Origin of Weaponry

At some point in every referee's career they find themselves having to divest a gamer of several dearly held gaming tropes regarding weapons. Roman legionaries were not all expert swordsmen, samurai katana do not have be blooded before you can put them back in the saya, and all cultures had a level of brutality too them [not just the bad guys]. und so weiter. It's been my personal experience that it is often best to begin this process from the bottom and work up. And by 'from the bottom', I mean literally that: how to hurt a living being most effectively and the most basic tools used to achieve that.

1. How to hurt living things.

There are five basic types of violent damage: Bash, Chop, Poke/Stab, Slice, and Boom. In this context 'Boom' means any energy form of damage such as fire, falling, concussive effects and so on. Bash is blunt force trauma. Chop is blunt force trauma with a edge to penetrate skin and bone. Poke/Stab is spear or fang type penetrations. And Slice is the drawing of an edge across tissue.

The basic goals are to a] penetrate the skin and cause bleeding, b] disable organs and skeletal structure to reduce the enemy's capacity to resist, and c] to sap the will to resist. Everything else is variations on these basic results.

2. Weapons and development.

The first weapon was Stick. The second weapon was Rock. These worked for a long time because they were demonstrably superior to Fist, Foot, and Teeth, and a lot less damaging to the operator. But after a while some of us decided that they could improve on Stick and Rock and thus the arms race was born.

Taking a page from Teeth, it occurred to somebody that Sharp Stick and/or Sharp Rock would vastly improve the efficiency of Stick and Rock. At this point someone got the clever idea that Rock and Stick could mate and have an unholy love child. It was thus that Sharp Rock Tied To Stick was born.

And it's been pretty much down hill after that.

Once Sharp Rock And Stick got going, our ancestral monkey troop started eating better. More protein meant more muscle mass and brain power, which fueled other innovations.

But it all started with the idea that it was easier to hunt if the tool you were hunting with didn't feel pain or bleed in the process of bringing down said prey.

Human weapon development has been an eminently practical exercise in design and engineering ever since. And when your player wants to introduce his Left Handed Pansy Bat into the game, they should be reminded of these simple basic facts.

Thank you.

Edited by svensson
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8 hours ago, svensson said:

The first weapon was Stick. The second weapon was Rock. These worked for a long time because they were demonstrably superior to Fist, Kick, and Teeth, and a lot less damaging to the operator. But after a while some of us decided that they could improve on Stick and Rock and thus the arms race was born.

Taking a page from Teeth, it occurred to somebody that Sharp Stick and/or Sharp Rock would vastly improve the efficiency of Stick and Rock. At this point someone got the clever idea that Rock and Stick could mate and have an unholy love child. It was thus that Sharp Rock Tied To Stick was born.

And don't forget the other early weapon:  Burning Stick.  :50-element-fire::50-combination-power:

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28 minutes ago, svensson said:

Very true. But Burning Stick counts a 'Boom' in my nomenclature 😁

I think you have to expand a bit in the "combo" realm.  You've already considered sharpening your Stick or your Rock (you're adding Poke or Stab to your Bash).

Burning Stick is adding Boom to that, not a pure-boom (unless the Stick is mostly-burnt, so it breaks on impact with minimal/no Bash damage; in which specific case it's pure Boom).
 

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:10 AM, svensson said:

But it all started with the idea that it was easier to hunt if the tool you were hunting with didn't feel pain or bleed in the process of bringing down said prey

Not quite.

As long as it's not you who's doing the bleeding or feeling pain.

That's what domestication of dogs was about (quite some time later).

 

And wasn't fire one of the first weapons? To scare animals away (or over cliffs???)

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11 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Not quite.

As long as it's not you who's doing the bleeding or feeling pain.

That's what domestication of dogs was about (quite some time later).

 

And wasn't fire one of the first weapons? To scare animals away (or over cliffs???)

It is demonstrably more effective to use a rock or stick to hunt with than your fist, feet or teeth. This is what I meant by my comment there.

As for using fire, in order to scare something with fire, you need to make it portable. With Stick 😁

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On 5/6/2021 at 2:10 AM, svensson said:

The first weapon was Stick. The second weapon was Rock. These worked for a long time because they were demonstrably superior to Fist, Foot, and Teeth, and a lot less damaging to the operator. But after a while some of us decided that they could improve on Stick and Rock and thus the arms race was born.

Sorry to split hairs, but the jury is still out on whether sticks came before rocks, especially as chimps are seen to use both sticks for melee and rocks as projectiles.  One can argue that the idea of a projectile is more complex than a club, but monkeys (further down the intelligence tree) fling poo, but don't use sticks as clubs.

On 5/6/2021 at 3:05 AM, svensson said:

Absolutely true. It doesn't bear repeating, but let's just say that Knucklehead-san got most of his idea how 'swoardz' work from anime.

Corrections were necessary.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in anime it seems that weapons in general have a very hard time killing anyone with an actual name.  How many AP do you think a name is worth in RQ?  I'd say at least 6.  "Sticks and stones can't break my bones if names are 6AP."

On 5/7/2021 at 2:16 AM, svensson said:

Of course, that still doesn't mean that My Little Pony fans ['Brony's'] don't creep me the fuck out..... 😁😂🤣

And to think Bronies started innocently as some guy teaching his little sister that there is no such thing as a boy's program or a girl's program (something that anime doesn't entirely acknowledge), but then Rule 34 would have its way.

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

Sorry to split hairs, but the jury is still out on whether sticks came before rocks, especially as chimps are seen to use both sticks for melee and rocks as projectiles.  One can argue that the idea of a projectile is more complex than a club, but monkeys (further down the intelligence tree) fling poo, but don't use sticks as clubs.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in anime it seems that weapons in general have a very hard time killing anyone with an actual name.  How many AP do you think a name is worth in RQ?  I'd say at least 6.  "Sticks and stones can't break my bones if names are 6AP."

And to think Bronies started innocently as some guy teaching his little sister that there is no such thing as a boy's program or a girl's program (something that anime doesn't entirely acknowledge), but then Rule 34 would have its way.

It doesn't necessarily matter whether stick came before rock or the other way around. One australopithicus troop use stick, another used rock, and either is as good as the other.

The 'stick and stones' bit is funny. I'm gonna show that to my anime fan wife. 😂

As to 'bronys' illustrate one of several problems I have with anime... the 'fan service' phenomenon. It seems that whatever anime becomes popular and no matter its original intent, there always seems to be a sexually deviant spin that comes out of it. Of course, that opinion is coming from someone who's not a fan. Furthermore, I realize that I'm only looking at it from an American perspective. But I find the anime fascination with young girls to be seriously creepy. It appears to me that there is a tendency among some fans to see how close they can get to animated pedophilia without going over.

Please understand that I have no issue whatsoever with whatever someone and another consenting adult choose to do with their playtime. Where I draw the line is a] someone being under the age of 18, b] someone is being victimized /manipulated and c] somebody is making money off of a] and b].

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Missile weapons become a game changer when they become independent of physical force expended by the wielder - starting with cranked arbalests, and continued with gun powder. Recoil-less missile throwers would be the next separation between physical ability and the ability to kill, but teleoperated killing machines (starting with domesticated wolves) are another advance in that direction.

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12 hours ago, Joerg said:

Missile weapons become a game changer when they become independent of physical force expended by the wielder - starting with cranked arbalests, and continued with gun powder. Recoil-less missile throwers would be the next separation between physical ability and the ability to kill, but teleoperated killing machines (starting with domesticated wolves) are another advance in that direction.

Absolutely true.

The true game changer was when somebody convinced everybody else that a lighter spear was actually more effective than a heavy spear at hunting. It was from this argument that we get javelins, arrows, and the Great 7.62mm vs 5.56mm Debate. 😁 Totally not kidding on that last one. You'd be amazed  at how many times the 'lighter with more ammo versus heavier with more stopping power' argument repeats itself in military circles.

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There has long been a discussion over stopping power and more ammo... and that one goes all the way back to atlatl vs. spears. Both have their place and frankly if I were a Balazaring I'd happily be using both.

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11 hours ago, svensson said:

Back to the point, there has long been a discussion over stopping power and more ammo... and that one goes all the way back to atlatl vs. spears. Both have their place and frankly if I were a Balazaring I'd happily be using both.

Uhm -- are the projectiles used by an atlatl that much different from routine (thrown) spears?

Training may be different, but wouldn't use of the atlatl imply one is using "spears" 😱

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1 hour ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Uhm -- are the projectiles used by an atlatl that much different from routine (thrown) spears?

Training may be different, but wouldn't use of the atlatl imply one is using "spears" 😱

Roughly the size and weight of light javelin [a combat style javelin, not the Olympics version]. They're larger and heavier than an arrow, but definitely lighter than most throwing spears.

In an RQ rules sense, they're javelins with an extra 50m. of range and require a separate skill.

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On 5/9/2021 at 6:30 PM, Darius West said:

Correct me if I am wrong, but in anime it seems that weapons in general have a very hard time killing anyone with an actual name. 

It is an explicit rule in Feng Shui, Robin Laws’ genre mashup action movie game, that high explosives, such as rocket launchers, can’t kill anyone with a name. Any number of nameless mooks, but anyone with a name will somehow survive, jumping to safety at the last minute if the vehicle they are in explodes etc. it is one of a number of action movie genre rule preserving rules. 
Weapons can kill someone with a name, but are unlikely to do so unless wielded by someone with a name. 
 

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On 5/12/2021 at 7:27 AM, svensson said:

Roughly the size and weight of light javelin [a combat style javelin, not the Olympics version]. They're larger and heavier than an arrow, but definitely lighter than most throwing spears.

RQG only has atl-atls as spear throwers which were used as with light javelins/darts generally, but Australian indigenous traditions used spear throwers (generally referred to as woomera, one of the names for them in one of the hundreds of indigenous languages) with spears from 2.5 to 3 meters, and fairly heavy. They were used for both hunting of large game (such as kangaroo or emu), and combat. With a woomera they could throw large distances, or throw with great force at shorter distances - while they can propel spears well over 100m, 35m is a realistic range for accuracy useful in hunting. 

The same style of spear was used for throwing with a woomera, and for hand to hand use. The woomera came in a variety of styles, often shaped a bit like a very long thin bowl. It was often somewhat of a multitool, usable for holding liquids, mixing ochre, wide ones used as shields, sometimes with a quartz cutting blade near the handle. 

 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

RQG only has atl-atls as spear throwers which were used as with light javelins/darts generally, but Australian indigenous traditions used spear throwers (generally referred to as woomera, one of the names for them in one of the hundreds of indigenous languages) with spears from 2.5 to 3 meters, and fairly heavy. They were used for both hunting of large game (such as kangaroo or emu), and combat. With a woomera they could throw large distances, or throw with great force at shorter distances - while they can propel spears well over 100m, 35m is a realistic range for accuracy useful in hunting. 

The same style of spear was used for throwing with a woomera, and for hand to hand use. The woomera came in a variety of styles, often shaped a bit like a very long thin bowl. It was often somewhat of a multitool, usable for holding liquids, mixing ochre, wide ones used as shields, sometimes with a quartz cutting blade near the handle. 

 

The bloke who showed us at school was hitting, reasonably consistently, large milo tins at the length of the running track. Which means he's hitting a roughly 200mm by 200mm target at 50m-ish. I never saw whether it penetrated or not. I also don't know if he was exceptional at it or not.

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On 5/9/2021 at 12:30 PM, Darius West said:

Correct me if I am wrong, but in anime it seems that weapons in general have a very hard time killing anyone with an actual name. 

In the Feng Shui RPG, a hand-grenade kills mooks, hurts “lieutenants”, and makes bosses just fly through the air a bit.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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8 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

In the Feng Shui RPG, a hand-grenade kills mooks, hurts “lieutenants”, and makes bosses just fly through the air a bit.

in a lot of games, actual death requires player cooperation; otherwise, a named is only "taken out" somehow. it's part of the narrative fiction. conversely. that means that sometimes it's narratively appropriate for a character (or enemy boss) whose arc is up to die to a goblin's arrow...

those games are obviously structured quite differently than runequest, or even heroquest, but nonetheless

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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On 5/16/2021 at 3:15 PM, Rob Darvall said:

The bloke who showed us at school was hitting, reasonably consistently, large milo tins at the length of the running track. Which means he's hitting a roughly 200mm by 200mm target at 50m-ish. I never saw whether it penetrated or not. I also don't know if he was exceptional at it or not.

Oh, it would penetrate all right. The trick is getting something that is both visible (eg kangaroos will often lie flat in cover when resting) and not moving. 
I don’t know what is a realistic range for a hunter to attempt a killing throw - I’m sure it varies by individual skill, no idea how much. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

Oh, it would penetrate all right. The trick is getting something that is both visible (eg kangaroos will often lie flat in cover when resting) and not moving. 
I don’t know what is a realistic range for a hunter to attempt a killing throw - I’m sure it varies by individual skill, no idea how much. 

A lot of historical big-game hunting is wounding the animal and then tracking/chasing it down afterwards, so you wouldn't have to get an outright kill.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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