Monday, July 11, 2022

Arrows Kill – or do they?

The bow and arrow. There are so many myths and legends and hyping around the bow and arrow that getting a good grasp on its power is difficult. Was the bow the single weapon’s technology that would make or break an army? No. Whenever I watch some blockbuster movie with ancient warfare in it and the bow shows up, I begin to groan. Inevitably the rain of arrows causes mass destruction akin to a nuclear bomb in the enemies ranks. OK, I exaggerate, never-the-less, I have seen too many movies where the bow and arrow are presented as significantly more influential in a battle than they likely ever were. 

 


Not that they never were useful or the significant factor in battles; they were on occasion. There is a reason the bow is found in nearly every pre-modern culture and were widely used by nearly every army across the ancient world. Many people are aware of the battle of Agincourt and Crecy, where the longbow was used quite effectively allowing for staggering English victories over the French. There are other even more interesting battles such as the Battle of Sphacteria that caused the Spartan army to adopt the use of the bow and the Battle of Carrhae wherein Rome suffered one of its greatest military defeats ever.

But more often than not the bow and arrow were used as harrying weapons to break up formations, stimy attacks, blunt cavalry charges and for the most part prevent a foe from developing a strong attack or defense. The sword, spear, axe, and other weapons did the most damage and were the key ingredient in every army. It seems to me that the flight of arrows depicted in “300” was likely more reflective of reality than one might otherwise see. Of course this is all dependent on the situation, but the bow is not quite how it may seem.


It is quite useful (if the point is correctly configured) for hunting, piercing light armors, and even medium armor. Against heavily armored opponents, the arrow is nearly useless, nearly. En masse flights of arrows were useful and the occasional brilliant shot could prove decisive (that was exceedingly rare). But as a general rule, the arrow could not pierce tough metal armors.

One of the reasons the crossbow was once considered a machination of the devil was the bolt fired from it could pierce heavy armors. There were even attempts to outlaw its use by the ruling elites. The crossbow had considerably greater draw strength than a bow and one could quickly train in its use. Point being, the bow is not quite the super powerful weapon its often portrayed as. 

 

All that being said, there is a reason every army had archers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Isometrics and Patreon

I can't remember the first isometric dungeon I saw. I think it was in Ravenloft. Not sure. It could be that Ravenloft is the one I remember. In any respect, it left an impression. I recall trying to make isometric dungeons for my games, but having little artistic skill, did not understand the process so they kept falling flat. it then occurred to me the players would never see them until after the game and it would be a pointless waste of effort to make them. I chose poorly. I still love isometric dungeons. So I am giving them a whirl again. But who gets to see them?


What I decided to do was draw small dungeons for our followers in Patreon. One map would be a technical 2d map and another my effort at an isometric dungeon. I do not have a lot of time to devote to the latter, but we shall see how I progress over the years. I welcome all criticism and advise on making these.Now on to the maps and dungeons.

Steve and I were discussing what it is either of would want or need the most when running games. Without a heartbeat Steve said random dungeons or encounters. Something short and sweet he could throw into an evening's play with minimal investment of time, effort, or energy. I have been writing these one offs and short encounters for 6 months now (more or less) for our patreon account backers. I think there are forty or so now. Some of these had dungeons, others just text.

I am going to mix them up now. My goal is a dungeon one week with nothing in it. Basically it will just be a map with its current situation sans monsters and such. These are empty dungeons with the briefest descriptions of rooms. The Castle Keeper would have to supply the monsters or whatever might be inside the dungeon. In this manner the dungeon can be used for any level party. I will add an additional isometric interpretation because, well, because I am wanting to do them. These will only be available through patreon


Then the next week would be an encounter much like the one's I have done previously. I am changing one aspect of the encounters by not giving them a place per se. Rather it will be a description of a group of creatures or a single creature/monster and what its habitat is and how it goes about its dirty work. I will also mix demi-human, human, and humanoid NPCs into these. And on a final not, I am going to attempt to put together random encounter charts on occasion. These would be collected and constantly adjusted so everyone in the patreon would get the updates.

Songs from the Drowned Lands ~ Kernaghan

Recently I took a trip to New York (the city) and needed something to read that I could easily carry on the plane. I don't really buy pa...