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Alejandro Turcios





Joined: 12 Aug 2007

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PostPosted: Sun 12 Aug, 2007 5:27 pm    Post subject: what kind of weapons are used in fantastic tales?         Reply with quote

what kind of weapons are used in fantastic tales? such as the lord of the rings, how to put a detail description of the weapons and pictures? .... i need some advice for a book
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 12 Aug, 2007 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: what kind of weapons are used in fantastic tales?         Reply with quote

Alejandro Turcios wrote:
what kind of weapons are used in fantastic tales? such as the lord of the rings, how to put a detail description of the weapons and pictures? .... i need some advice for a book


Alejandro,

Can you specify a bit further what you mean? Your post is a little vague. Are you looking for information about all weapons? Or primarily swords?

If you're looking for info on swords, why not start with their anatomy: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_anatomy.html

Also, here's a bit about the types of swords out there: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_euroedge.html

For names of pommel types (note that they're modern names): http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_oakeshott3.html
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Bram Verbeek





Joined: 27 Mar 2007

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it all depends on what you wish to achieve, it could be that you want it to be quite realistic or high fantasy, the level of technological advancement also has a huge impact, and how much the characters move around, as does the setting it mirrors.

From most fantasy books I have the idea the focus is on swords, in oakeshot's typology most likely XII and mail as best protection for those that move around a lot, but mail and plate is used often as well. Shields are often either round or kite, I recall no teardrops, but my knowledge is in no way absolute.
bad guys often opt for more interesting weapons, axe, mace, hammer or flail.
There is quite a lot of two weapon fighting in comparison to the real world, but relatively little two handed fighting, if there is, it often is a barbaric character carrying an axe and little armour.

This could be a what is, but more interesting is what you wish to use, it could be more interesting to have your hero come from a culture that uses javelins and spear and shield, trying to make his way through a terrain riddled with horse archers. You could make a book in which there is a reason characters see from a large distance what they face by shape of the shield, and add deception by using other shields. Heroes could wield the swords of their ancesters and occasionally notice why newer sword types were made, weapons could signify rank, for instance spears and axes for lower classes, swords for lower nobles and pollaxe for higher nobles. The possibilities are limitless.

Please try to make a story feasable, it does not have to be historiccally correct, but barbarians clad in a loincloth with a two handed weapon attacking a technologiccally advanced kingdom might have a chance the first time, but a second time they will be greeted by a hail of arrows for which there is little defense. A cutting sword will not be very effective against mail and plate, even less so against fully articulate plating. a hero travelling by his lone self should not be wearing fully articulate plate, because it would be very tiresome to put it on, let alone travel in it. Long pikes might be useful in formations, but will be very cumbersome for a traveling hero, and it will be hard to use it in one-on-one combat (even though yari kata's do the best they can to provide a guideline).

The best thing to do is try a weapon combination yourself, see what is possible with it and what is not, you can also imagine your shortcomings, and what type of person could effectively use it. You can try with boffers or wooden sticks with a point of balance and grip equal to that of a real weapon, a shield can be made in an hour with a piece of board (be sure to use quite thick board, most shields are heavy). When walking around on a ren faire, you may be able to befriend a few people and ask them about armor, maybe even put it on and feel what is possible with those pieces. Be sure to take into account that training helps a lot, so it will also be interesting to look at reenacting battles and see what you could not achieve still be done.
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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sword is, by far, the most used weapon in fantasy tales. Tales like Beowulf, the Arthurian legends, the Song of Roland, as well as modern stories like the Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and A Song of Ice and Fire feature the hero or heroes with swords of mystical or magical origins. Less frequent are other weapons: lances or spears (Sicarious Dracorum from the movie Dragonslayer), the occasional bow and/or arrow (Bard's Black Arrow from the Hobbit), and rarely axes (so rare I can't think of an example right now).
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bram Verbeek wrote:
Long pikes might be useful in formations, but will be very cumbersome for a traveling hero, and it will be hard to use it in one-on-one combat (even though yari kata's do the best they can to provide a guideline).


Hmm. Sojutsu (Japanese spear-fighting with the aforementioned yari) mostly seems to use medium-length spears of about seven or eight feet, so it might not be the best source for pike-fighting. Perhaps some of the English authors like Swetnam or George Silver would be a better source for dealing with such weapons; I also recall some Italian masters including the pike within their curriculum, but I'm not sure about that and I don't remember whether they really deal with long pikes or the shorter, handier variants. In any case, it is true that the pike is primarily a weapon for formation fighting and isn't very efficient for the purpose of single combat.


Quote:
(be sure to use quite thick board, most shields are heavy)


This is manifestly false--most shields actually seem to have been fairly thin, both because they had to be moved around and because they were considered to be somewhat expendable pieces of equipment. The exceptions, like the bronze-sheathed Greek aspis and the very large Roman scutum, were mostly meant to be used in formations where each man derived a great deal of protection from the shield of the comrade to his right. These heavier shields also tended to be quite deeply curved so that they'd still be able to cover the wielder in spite of their reduced mobility. Of course, any shield might feel cumbersome to an untrained warrior. This site has two very good articles about shields:

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_shield.html

http://www.myArmoury.com/review_vs_shieldii.html

so check them out.


Now, getting away from Bram's post and back to your (Alejandro's) needs: I'm a fantasy writer myself, and what I can say about this thing is that the kind of weapon you encounter will depend heavily on your own worldbuilding. The world of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, for example, has a Dark Ages/early-medieval feel so its armor and weaponry were generally based on early medieval military technology, with mail being the predominant form of armor in combination with round or kite shields. Weaponry revolved around spears, bows, and cut-oriented types of Viking and Early medieval swords, such as the Oakeshott types X and XI. Note that the word Oakeshott makes an auto-link that you'd probably want to click, since the article linked there provides a very good basic overview of medieval sword types.

Other authors base their worldbuilding on different cultures or periods. George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, for example, is roughly based on late medieval England, with the widespread use of plate armor and later, more thrust-oriented sword types. Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a very delightful take on early 19th-century England and the Napoleonic Wars. Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (the first book is titled His Majesty's Dragon!) plays with the idea of what might have happened if the Napoleonic Wars had been fought with dragons. Other writers may use cultures that aren't even European--Kij Johnson's Fudoki, for example, is very Japanese. I consider this branching out to include non-European cultures as a very welcome trend since it gives me the precedent I need to borrow the mythologies from my native Indonesia. Wink

Now, considering your own worldbuilding, there are two equally valid approaches: to make your weapons suit the plot, or to make the plot suit your weapons. The best way to find out which one is best suited to your needs is to actually try them out--and the result is not always exclusive, as personally I've found that some of my stories fit better with one while the rest work best with the other. It's also worth noting that the act of describing weapons and writing moves isn' t remarkably different from doing descriptions for other things like people or scenery. You need experience in order to be able to find the right balance and to know what should be decribed and what shouldn't be, since too much description will bog down the pace of the narrative while too little will leave the readers hanging on to thin air. None of this can be learned except through experience and the only way to get that experience is to start writing. Now. Don' t worry about getting things right at this stage since, as Ernest Hemingway said, the first draft is always shit. (His profanity, not mine.) You can always "get things right" later during the revision/rewrite stage, by which time you would already have a fully-formed story and a much better idea about what sorts of description you'll need to put into it.

In other words, there's no such thing as "the right way" when it comes to writing. Perhaps you'd be interested to check writing sites such as Forward Motion or AbsoluteWrite for further advice on the writing side of things at the same time that you mine myArmoury for more information about arms and armor.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
and rarely axes (so rare I can't think of an example right now).


Well, now that we're taking about it, the Dwarves in Tolkien's world carried mostly axes, and it has become the standard convention among his imitators. But not all of them did--some of the Dwarves from the Iron Hills carried mattocks. A pretty unusual weapon, don't you think?

Another example of axes featuring prominently in a fantasy work would be Robert Howard's story about Kull the Conqueror, especially By This Axe, I Rule (or something like that. I'm not good at remembering titles from the sword-and-sorcery subgenre).

So there's plenty of precedent for that. Wink
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Etienne Hamel




Location: Granby (QC) canada
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

or there is Gimli's axe in lord of the ring but for the other movies with axes i'm not sure...
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James Odell




Location: Belton, Texas
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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 5:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it may also be worth noting that in Steven Brust's "Vlad Taltos" books a very eclectic mix of weapons is described. shiruken and calatrops, rapiers, sabres, various two handed blades (both single and double edged, and of both the cutting and thrusting variety), and at least one instance where a weapon something like a katzbalger was described (in the book "dragon").

Brust more or less gets away with this by having a very large empire with a long history, and very long lived residents for whom death is most certainly not absolute (excepting when a weapon that can kill the soul is involved...).

as has been already suggested, depending on the fantasy environment you wish to create your options are pretty much limetless.
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Michael Ekelmann




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's true that the sword predominates in fantasy. There are some exceptions, like the Aiel in the Wheel of Time series by Jordan, who use spears, the big guy in Drake's fantasy series uses a quarterstaff, most dwarves in the Forgotten Realms books use axes or hammers, Moorcock has Rackhir the Red Archer. I think it's for the reasons others have posted, swords are the most revered weapon in the old sagas and stories that the originators of modern fantasy used as inspiration.

Some weapons I think would be cool for a fantasy hero: a godendag, a hewing spear, an iron club, a grosse messer.
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Jonathan Blair




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

Well, now that we're taking about it, the Dwarves in Tolkien's world carried mostly axes, and it has become the standard convention among his imitators. But not all of them did--some of the Dwarves from the Iron Hills carried mattocks. A pretty unusual weapon, don't you think?

Another example of axes featuring prominently in a fantasy work would be Robert Howard's story about Kull the Conqueror, especially By This Axe, I Rule (or something like that. I'm not good at remembering titles from the sword-and-sorcery subgenre).

So there's plenty of precedent for that. Wink

I was thinking "named" weapons. Like Caladbolg, Excalibur, Durendal, Glamdring, Anduril, Ice, etc. I agree, the axe has become the "default" weapon of the fantasy dwarf like the bow and arrow has become the "default" weapon of fantasy elf, but as I wrote my post, no "named" axes came to mind. I'm sure they are out there though.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

first, I agree with the notions to my post, I assumed that any pike longer than a yari would be too awkward to even consider lugging around (dark gloomy forests would not be the first thing on my mind with a twenty foot pike, that said, not with a seven foot spear as well).
Shields need not be made out of inch thick planks, but making them out of 3mm plywood will not be realistic as well, maybe a nice guideline is the collections part of this site, there are shields there with weights and dimensions listed. (even though those shields will be made more to last than midieval shields)

I think it is important first how your technological advancement is (and region to mirror), second how realistic you wish it to be, and third how trade and war loot could influence it.

There could also be the problem that if you delve too much in the matters, you either might want to describe the arms used in too great detail, thus stopping the flow of the story, or only describe what you know to be different from the norm, thus alienating casual readers.
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Allen Andrews




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In addition to the many named swords in the Tolkien books, "Aeglos" was the spear wielded by Gil-Galad in the battle against Sauron at the end of the second age. "Balthronding" was the name of Beleg's bow and of course "Angrist" was a dagger. Tolkien was into named weapons Happy
" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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Gordon Clark




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 4:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am pretty sure that there was a named axe in Starfollowers of Coramonde by Brian Daley. Can't locate the book - anyone happened to remember the name of that weapon?

Gordon
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 4:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

Well, now that we're taking about it, the Dwarves in Tolkien's world carried mostly axes, and it has become the standard convention among his imitators. But not all of them did--some of the Dwarves from the Iron Hills carried mattocks. A pretty unusual weapon, don't you think?

Another example of axes featuring prominently in a fantasy work would be Robert Howard's story about Kull the Conqueror, especially By This Axe, I Rule (or something like that. I'm not good at remembering titles from the sword-and-sorcery subgenre).

So there's plenty of precedent for that. Wink

I was thinking "named" weapons. Like Caladbolg, Excalibur, Durendal, Glamdring, Anduril, Ice, etc. I agree, the axe has become the "default" weapon of the fantasy dwarf like the bow and arrow has become the "default" weapon of fantasy elf, but as I wrote my post, no "named" axes came to mind. I'm sure they are out there though.


There is Dramborleg the axe that Tuor used in the Fall of Gondolin during the First Age of Middle Earth. It's name meant "Thudder Sharp" as it had the dint of a club yet cleaved like a sword. Talk about a devastating weapon.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Neil Langley




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One more - Snaga the Sender is the (double headed) axe of Druss in the David Gemmell books (http://www.raven-armoury.co.uk/snaga.htm).

Neil.[/url]
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2007 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
I was thinking "named" weapons. Like Caladbolg, Excalibur, Durendal, Glamdring, Anduril, Ice, etc. I agree, the axe has become the "default" weapon of the fantasy dwarf like the bow and arrow has become the "default" weapon of fantasy elf, but as I wrote my post, no "named" axes came to mind. I'm sure they are out there though.


I'm quite sure Kull's axe had a name, but I don't remember what it is since I'm not generally a fan of S&S. And, of course, Paul has mentioned Turin's Dramborleg there.

Taking another example from Tolkien's works, we actually have another unusual named weapon: Grond, which was the name for both Morgoth's mace in the First Age and the ram used to batter the gate of Minas Tirith in the Third Age.

I can also look back into Indonesian history and draw attention to several heirloom firearms in Bali that were given names and treated as if they were human beings. It is believed that they would never miss when prepared with the appropriate rituals before firing, and indeed one of them was used in the successful assassination of a Dutch commander in the 19th century.

Oh, yes, while we're at it, don't think that gunpowder is incompatible with fantasy. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the Temeraire series are both set in the gunpowder-heavy Napoleonic Wars, remember? One of my fantasy projects is also more 17th-century than medieval, including the gunpowder-heavy warfare, gunpowder-related magical practices, and all.
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Darrin Hughes




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of my personal favourites is the shortened Halberd, Hlavisbana, from Rohan & Scotts' Spell of Empire. I like the idea that it was made from a previously broken weapon because the owner couldn't afford to get a sword made. This book is a good example of a crossover period where we find steel, gunpowder, and of course a bit of magic. That said, even the magic has a nice twist in that it is always musically triggered, requiring the user to have mastered two disciplines.

Of course that does show that whilst some knowledge of weapons can be useful, the writers main tool has always been his imagination. Taking Tolkien as an example, although he was fond of giving weapons names and their own backstory, how often does he really describe their use in detail? Fights tend be skipped over far more quickly than in the films, where they are much more obvious set-pieces.

Cheers,
Darrin.
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Tue 14 Aug, 2007 11:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert E. Howards characters, in particular Kull and Conan, seem to favour two-handed swords, longswords and battle-axes.

Howard's armour is very eclectic though...
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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Aug, 2007 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

oh, and please, for the love of god, never use double bladed axes and swords (not to mention double flails). These things are a danger to anyone trying to wield them, but since you ask for information on this forum, I doubt you would venture too much into the realm of inprobability
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Aug, 2007 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darrin Hughes wrote:
Of course that does show that whilst some knowledge of weapons can be useful, the writers main tool has always been his imagination. Taking Tolkien as an example, although he was fond of giving weapons names and their own backstory, how often does he really describe their use in detail? Fights tend be skipped over far more quickly than in the films, where they are much more obvious set-pieces.


Well, that's the difference between written/printed fiction and motion pictures. Movies rely on obvious visual and auditory display to convey the story, while books put a great deal more reliance on the reader's imagination--which is why sometimes the best way to handle fights in written/printed stories is by not describing them in great detail. The fights in the Lord of the Rings book feel much more real and immediate to me even though they're generally not presented with the same level of detail as in the movies, because Tolkien manages to get the pace and the emotions right. Especially the part where Sam stabbed his first orc in the depths of Moria--it really presented a different side of his character that the readers hadn't known before, but was not inconsistent with the way he was portrayed in other scenes up to that point.
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