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The question of female knights


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3 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

You could imagine the fury of the samurai charging their ranks only to be raked by the volley fire of female fired harquebus' and then to add insult to their masculinity, the wounded get skewered by females wielding naginatas!? 

Hm, unlikely. As was stated, samurai women was expected to fight to defend their homes and families. Doing it on the battlefield was just a little bit odd.

Edited by Oleksandr
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7 hours ago, Oleksandr said:

Hm, unlikely. As was stated, samurai women was expected to fight to defend their homes and families. Doing it on the battlefield was just a little bit odd.

Characteristically stoic understatement on the part of a bushi expiring on the end of a 7-foot staff-sword.

"That...  was...  just...  a bit...  odd.  <slumps>"

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12 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

There is a lot of great info on the Waring States Period on line but I prefer the Osprey books mentioned above, many by Turnbull have really great source material. At the Battle of Shizugatake in 1583, there was record of some 200 women musketeers. You could imagine the fury of the samurai charging their ranks only to be raked by the volley fire of female fired harquebus' and then to add insult to their masculinity, the wounded get skewered by females wielding naginatas!? 

Erol - please, would you provide a source for your statement about women muskateers at the Battle of Shizugatake?

Mind you - the ashigaru arquebussers of Oda Nobunaga at the Battle of Nagashino was more than enough of an ego-cut!

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34 minutes ago, SirUkpyr said:

Erol - please, would you provide a source for your statement about women muskateers at the Battle of Shizugatake?

Mind you - the ashigaru arquebussers of Oda Nobunaga at the Battle of Nagashino was more than enough of an ego-cut!

Wikipedia cites the Bizen-han Bakumatsu Ishin Shidan, though the evidence is generally anecdotal rather than empirical; it's not improbable, though, as the claim is that this force was raised and led by Ikeda Sen; the Ikeda were influential due to their close ties to the Oda (her grandmother had been Oda Nobunaga's wetnurse, and her father was close in age to him and became one of his trusted commanders), and her husband at the time was the brother of Mori Ranmaru, one of the notable casualties of Mitsuhide's betrayal. If any woman were to have the influence and gumption to raise an all-woman unit in the wake of Nobunaga's death, someone like her would be a good choice to do it. Various sources, though likely coming from the Edo Period and thus being of dubious accuracy, also claim she fought in other battles of the period, including Yamazaki and even Sekigahara.

There are other accounts of both individual women of the warrior class taking up arms and fighting on the battlefield - I could name several - and a few other accounts of small units like that discussed above. Further, DNA evidence suggests that there was more of this going on than the records state, not less; tests on 105 bodies from the Battle of Senbon Matsubara (which happened in 1580) revealed that 35 of them were women. Tests elsewhere have given similar results, so in at least some battles as many as 30% of the active combatants may have been women.

As for Nagashino: It's very likely that massed volley fire wasn't used at that battle, actually. Certainly it was invented sometime before Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea, since Chinese and Korean sources discuss its use there, but there are several reasons to believe it wasn't actually in use at Nagashino (which I won't get into since we're getting off-topic again).

Edited by Leingod
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3 minutes ago, Leingod said:

Wikipedia cites the Bizen-han Bakumatsu Ishin Shidan, though the evidence is generally anecdotal rather than empirical

History situation normal, then!

Erol mentioned an Osprey book by Turnbull, and another Wikipedia article cites this source:  

Samurai Women 1184–1877, Stephen Turnbull, Bloomsbury Publishing, 20 Jan 2012.

Front Cover
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43 minutes ago, Leingod said:

As for Nagashino: It's very likely that massed volley fire wasn't used at that battle, actually. Certainly it was invented sometime before Hideyoshi's invasion of Korea, since Chinese and Korean sources discuss its use there, but there are several reasons to believe it wasn't actually in use at Nagashino (which I won't get into since we're getting off-topic again).

Turnbull's book on the battle specifies how the volley fire was used, and if I recall there are letters/messages sent by Takeda Katsuyori or one of the surviving Takeda generals which detail their use against the army.

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Sorry this is still slightly off topic but includes women's rolls on the battlefield if not as knights:

I recall that the Ikko-ikki use volley fire (again mostly farmers and likely some women as the Ikko-ikki were made up of both sexes, peasant rabble, throw in a few female monks for color as well) against Nobunaga at Nagashima quite effectively that they held him off for a few years. Thus having been used against his forces with great effect (I think even one of relatives fell there) he learned from it and so Nobunaga (and Hideyoshi in later battles) deployed its use against the Takeda at Nagashino. It is off topic but interesting to note... the point women (samurai or not) and peasants, easily trained and then put to use to cut down the élite samurai. What an insult, maybe this was part of the reason Mt. Hei was burned (thousands killed) a few months after the first failed attempt to take Nagashima?

(Katsuyori's father I think was actually mortally wounded by an harquebus ball while trying to listen to one of Ieyasu's soldiers playing a flute or something at night during the siege of Mikatagahara?)

Maybe a new topic/thread would be how to translate some of the Daimyo to Runequest, Land of Ninja anyone!? It would be like Game of Thrones but set in Kralorela. Did anyone see the movie Ran by Kurosawa... "Go East"

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sieges_of_Nagashima

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17 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Sorry this is still slightly off topic but includes women's rolls on the battlefield if not as knights:

[...]

Maybe a new topic/thread would be how to translate some of the Daimyo to Runequest, Land of Ninja anyone!? It would be like Game of Thrones but set in Kralorela. Did anyone see the movie Ran by Kurosawa... "Go East"

I think you maybe undersold the off-topicness there -- your just covered about three other entire sub-forums there! -- but the topic's been more off the topic than on it for a while! 🙂

Or Vormain maybe, depending on how you care to slice and dice your Gloranthan orientalism...

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On 11/12/2021 at 5:50 PM, Alex said:

Characteristically stoic understatement on the part of a bushi expiring on the end of a 7-foot staff-sword.

"That...  was...  just...  a bit...  odd.  <slumps>"

How exactly it's different to being killed by a man? 🤨

On 11/12/2021 at 10:53 PM, Erol of Backford said:

the point women (samurai or not) and peasants, easily trained and then put to use to cut down the élite samurai. What an insult

I still can't see a difference between fighting women on the battlefield, and doing it while assaulting their houses...

And, by that point peasant conscripts has long been comprising bulk of the armies. When social structure was reformed after war end, they formed intermediate class above normal peasants, with some privileges.

It also important to note that at this time plate armor still was rare among samurai. Experiments showed that plate armor are highly resistant to firearm (depending on distance, angle and quality, of course). In fact, both Nobunaga and Tokugawa was hit multiple times, and their armor stopped bullets. Contrary to popular belief, plate armor was used for centuries after guns became common. Gunpowder based armies was reasonably effective, yet cheep, expendable and, most importantly, consisted of poor commoners instead of ruling elite😆

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Again off direct topic from women knights, but Tokugawa/Matsudaira Ieyasu, destined to be Shogun, was thought to have worn a Spanish Conquistador helmet and possibly a cuirass from what I read. It may have been for dress rather than battle but interesting to note nonetheless.

The only armor peasants would have had, possibly women, was something stolen off a dead ashigaru or samurai who wandered into their village, wounded after a battle and likely on the run from the victors? 

image.png.15c3e70ad0befbeeb4ca260434222ae8.png

 

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On 11/12/2021 at 7:13 PM, Leingod said:

tests on 105 bodies from the Battle of Senbon Matsubara (which happened in 1580) revealed that 35 of them were women. Tests elsewhere have given similar results, so in at least some battles as many as 30% of the active combatants may have been women.

It should be taken into account that some of them could be noncombatants (nurses, camp followers ets., they are often ignored). Then again, maybe not. We have no way of knowing. Of course, even noncombatants would fight for their lives.

On 11/18/2021 at 4:43 AM, Erol of Backford said:

The only armor peasants would have had, possibly women, was something stolen off a dead ashigaru or samurai who wandered into their village

I suppose most female combatants was more likely from samurai class, who could afford better equipment, training and, unlike peasant women, could eat regularly, thus being bigger and stronger 😁

 

Returning to Europe, i heard that ther was female combatants among Hussites militia, and among guerilla army of Vlad the Impaler, and among Cortes's troops.

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5 hours ago, Oleksandr said:

Returning to Europe, i heard that ther was female combatants among Hussites militia, and among guerilla army of Vlad the Impaler, and among Cortes's troops.

Maria de Estrada. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/María_Estrada

Wikipedia states: "according to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, she was the only Spanish woman with them at this point." (i.e. at Tenochtitlan in June 1520)

Also, WIkipedia points out:
"Most of the early sources refer to María de Estrada in general terms among the small number of women who accompanied the army at this time, but two writers of the later sixteenth century single her out as a soldier."
"The basic fact that María de Estrada accompanied Cortés' army to Mexico is vouched for by eyewitness memoirs and most historians agree as to the reliability of the evidence on which her detailed biography is based."
"...but other historians have been more cautious, suggesting that María de Estrada's military prowess may be a literary fiction,"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wonder if the developers have thought about making some of the named non-player knights women. Like for example Gawain, to name one, could be more or less the same, but being a woman. It might be problematic in some cases as many named Arthurian knights have storylines that include romance with women, and having a gay woman knight might be a little too wild, but well, we have dragons too so, why not? And also, if there are no named non-player knights, which are the most numerous and important npcs, Pendragon could never be totally egalitarian in terms of gender, which is the place a lot of modern TTRPGs are going for today. 

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On 11/30/2021 at 4:25 PM, Jape_Vicho said:

I wonder if the developers have thought about making some of the named non-player knights women. Like for example Gawain

It was attempted numerous times in other genres (including in Arthurian stories*). It's rarely successful, and generally audience prefer invention of new characters.

*as major example, in japanese "Fate" franchise, Arthur/Artoria, Mordred and Gareth are women. (at least in most worlds of multiverse)

Spoiler

Artoria

817c04631bfdd7381083cf27270f9916b3fc9c7d

Mordred

1537438472178287713.jpg

Gareth

gareth3.png

Merlin (alternate univers)

Merlin.(Fate.Prototype).600.3081224.jpg

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2 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I wonder if the developers have thought about making some of the named non-player knights women.

I'm considering it down the line in my campaign, given that it's now been clearly established in-game that women can become knights.

Haven't made a decision on gender-swapping some of the KOTRTs one way or the other yet.

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2 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

I wonder if the developers have thought about making some of the named non-player knights women.

I seriously doubt that there will be 'canonical' gender-swapping. Each GM can do that in their own campaigns, no worries. But best to keep the 'default' close to the common canon of the Arthurian tales, IMHO.

Now if we are talking about Britomart and other such female knights from literature, sure, bring those in. Or new characters to populate the land with.

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For my campaign, I'm keeping an eye out for opportunities. For example, I don't think anyone is really going to care whether Hervis de Revel becomes Herva (still workshopping that name). And there's a variant Tristam story in which Iseult becomes a man, I think.

I did also consider gender-swapping Arthur, but I think that alters the Mordred story's dynamic too much. Then again, the 4th edition Blessing (Fertility) talent only requires a "sexual union" to ensure pregnancy, so I suppose that could open some doors if you wanted to do so...

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13 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

It might be problematic in some cases as many named Arthurian knights have storylines that include romance with women, and having a gay woman knight might be a little too wild, but well, we have dragons too so, why not?

Or gender-flip their Amor, or any combo of the two, case-by-case.

I don't know how far the next editions plans on detailing -- or "mandating", as they might say in some of the more over-excitable OSR quarters -- the gender issue, but past eds have discussed different campaign options that were considerably different from each other, and that might be an option here too.

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17 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

And also, if there are no named non-player knights, which are the most numerous and important npcs, Pendragon could never be totally egalitarian in terms of gender, which is the place a lot of modern TTRPGs are going for today. 

If female knights common - they are generic*; If they rare - each are unique. And, in this very thread was quite a few examples of named Arthurian examples.

*As example, in Warcraft movie almost half of human army was female. But everybody was wearing heavy armor, so most viewers didn't notice this. Besides, they was just as useless as male ones...

4 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

I did also consider gender-swapping Arthur, but I think that alters the Mordred story's dynamic too much. Then again, the 4th edition Blessing (Fertility) talent only requires a "sexual union" to ensure pregnancy, so I suppose that could open some doors if you wanted to do so...

This exactly what happened in aforementioned Fate universe - Artoria fathered Mordred.

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Speaking of generic, i noticed that in Book of Armies there not so many female opponents. And all by one example aren't in random tables, and can only be added by GM whims (and one that in the tables are from one specific battle - last day of Badon)...

Notably, neither Irish nor tribal British have any.

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