Journal of Khazrel Nakhu “Journey to the Cities Afar” 32’s93
- OF FIGHTERS
“There are few things in this world that can not be done or undone by a group of well armed and grizzled veterans. I do not speak of levies and other armies that simply stand in line waiting to be broken, but rather the wholesome warriors who find death seemly. These are the ones that stand firm and change the world with the swing of their blade. These are the ones who find swords and blades a good alternative to otherwise vulgar affairs.”
“Among the civilized races there are some commonalities among the professional fighters. Most work for profit, and most fight for a cause. Note that these two things are hardly mutually exclusive. Most follow a liege or other strong authority. Most follow a code of conduct, although this is often very one-sided. Most find camaraderie among their sword-bearing peers, and likewise may be uncomfortable among peaceful folk. Most are a superstitious lot and pay particular attention to portents. And finally most train and hone their skills ceaselessly.”
“Aside from these shared traits I should note the many differences of warriors of the different races. Let me begin with Dwarf fighters, as they are what I am most familiar with. Most career fighters carry three weapons; one from their ancestors, one from their father in-law, and one from their spouse. The first is usually the most prized. It can take any form, but short sword, hatchets, short spears and flails are the most common. The second weapon is always a gift from a spouse’s elder or in the case of bachelors, a gift from ones mother that is often called a mellownail or a green-man’s blade. The third weapon, the one from a spouse, is likely a small blade or token weapon. These are usually returned to the spouse as proof that the mate has been slain in battle. They are also close quarter weapons where other weapon may be impractical.”
“Dwarf warriors train from early ages, although most of those who train eventually move onto other walks of life. All male Dwarves have a rudimentary understanding of warfare. Females rarely do so, although some exceptions are abound. Training consists of ancillary skills, there were long-distance foot races to teach him endurance, and races in cartwheels and somersaults to teach him balance and agility. It is not uncommon for the front row of a Dwarven line to act as shock troops and somersault and cartwheel towards an enemy. Veteran warriors are highly respected and treated with the utmost of courtesy. They are never one to be taken for granted or slighted and his dignity was to never be questioned or doubted. To do is a gross act of disrespect. After all, these fighters are the first ones to be called upon should a threat arise.
“Elves are a strange ilk and their womenfolk do most of the fighting. The men are lethargic and seem more interested in frivolous tasks and prancing rather than tasting blood. As I spoke of in my previous notes on Elves, the female are far more inclined to attempt to gain the notice from their prospective mates if they set themselves apart from their peers. Women warriors often do so with insanely foolish acts of bravery that more often sends them to an early grave. This makes them unpredictable and vicious foes. These fighters follow an agile style names Kauni, or ‘standing in ones shadow’, which is a combination of stealthy attacks, hitting vulnerable targets, and then vanishing before a counter can be launched.”
“Warrior-women have little notion of mercy. They never take slaves and only rarely take prisoners. Interlopers are usually hunted to the last man, or a few are maimed and left to escape so they can spread the tale. Elves do not have standing armies, only small tactical squads that are between 3 and 20 strong. They may have several of these per village and compete with one another often – for centuries. Thus they are among the most deadly and highly trained fighters in the world, and adept at thwarting large numbers of foes. Villages will band together in times of large strife. Elves are usually not aggressive occupiers of territory, thus have no reason for large standing armies.”
“On rare occasions a male warrior or a rogue female warrior will not participate in these assault squads. They are often seen as eccentrics, but not necessarily outcasts. More than one folk-legend is centered on a Elven hermit-warrior with unparalleled skills. Other times fighters simply move on and take their skills elsewhere. In particular recently when Elfish civil warfare has become commonplace and some view it as a pointless conflict.”
“Halfling folk operate in cavalier units and slave infantry. They usually drive their slave forces directly into harms way while harrying foes with arrows on quick moving steeds. Almost all Halfling warriors are skilled horse men and archers, and they loath melee combat due to their small stature. These tactics are undoubtedly effective albeit somewhat dishonorable to outsiders. Halflings are fond of terrorizing lesser humanoids for little reason or perhaps do so to simply be rid of unwanted slaves. In rare occasions Halflings will war against Human, Dwarf or Elf but these are thankfully uncommon and only when their sheriffs decree some need to do so as a portent. Halflings rarely seek to expand their territory as they require little space to begin with.”
“Halflings take slaves when they can and force them into an indentured servitude. While the promise of freedom is present, it rarely actually happens. Those refusing to do labor will have their feet torn off which are placed upon the boarder fences. In times of widespread conflict it would not be uncommon to have piles of feet placed upon a noticeable stone wall or the like.”
“Humans are by far the most war-like with a thirst for endless conflicts between their kind and just about anyone who boarders them. Their armies are usually ill equipped, easily broken, and prone to take heavy casualties. The exception is when a particularly strong ruler is properly motivated and has the means to raise a frighteningly large force with sufficient veterans to be a serious threat to any foes. These large armies can cause swath of unparalleled destruction even though they are short lived.”
“Human villages prize individual champions which fight solo battles versus other village champions. This is done to avoid prolonged or large scale conflicts. These fighters are highly prized and are the best trained the best equipped fighter of the village. On the other end of the spectrum, landed noble men are usually trained in battle as knights and are adept at forming and leading levied armies. Knights may homage to a futher liege and eventually the emperor – until recently that is.”
“Human tend to be expansionist and are usually check my other races when they move their gaze outwards. This so far has wrought a grudgingly mutual respect among the civilized races. It has also caused most human conflicts to be directed internally rather than towards other races. The deep wilds also tend to thwart most attempts at claiming new territory. Old forbidding threats in the deeps will quickly break even the best trained force pushing too deep, and so most of the world’s land is free of civilized men.”
From a mechanical point of view, Fighters will be changed little from their B/X core. I will allow them to roll 2 damage dice and pick the highest for two-handed weapons or using two weapons. In the case of two weapons, the appropriate die type would be used. Since so few things change Armor Class I think this is a good trade out for a shield. Critical hits I am still mulling over but I will likely use double damage on a natural 20. It just seems intuitive for me even though it was never really intended for B/X.