DUAL AND MULTIPLE USE EQUIPMENT: MUNDANE AND MAGICAL
A friend of mine and I were having a discussion last night and this morning on primitive bow-making and historical facts. She informed me that ancient men and later frontiersmen used their bow staves as primitive one stringed lyres (or musical bows) and their arrow shafts as primitive bows to play very basic music. See one reference below.
This idea only makes great sense and you can easily see how this would have led to to the development of primitive musical bows and lyres specifically for music.
Anyway this gave me both a gaming and literary idea. In gaming you would have a bow specifically designed for Bards (or that they create themselves as part of their unique gear – like a warrior who forges his own sword) that can easily serve as a modified musical instrument that would allow him to both enchant enemies and opponents and entertain or in some way heal or bless allies and companions. A magical version would then have both combat and Bardic advantages, and it is so very natural since such equipment could easily serve dual or even multiple functions (it might also serve as a 4 to 5 foot pole or as a climbing rod/tool when unbent or in stave form).
As a literary device for my novels it could serve the same basic functions but, of course, would not be described in that way. There is a Welsh bard in one of my novels who would naturally easily employ such a bow.
This is hardly the first device or weapon or piece of gear or equipment I’ve made use of for dual or multiple purposes (either in real life, games, or in literature or poetry) but it is a rather fascinating and new employment for me. Bow staves as musical instruments.
Now all of that being said what items do you use in your games or writings or even in real life as dual-use pieces of equipment or gear?
Further Reference: Work Songs, Plutarch, and the Scythians