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I PREFER

I PREFER

I have always loved swords, don’t get me wrong. Especially short, compact to medium length swords, well weighted, tough, entirely functional and made for combat and killing. I speak specifically of the Gladius and the Spatha.

But far more I have always loved long knives and the warhammer. Both feel absolutely right in my hands. Perfect for me as a matter of fact.

Maybe that is because I am so tool oriented (probaly get that form my old man) and because by nature I am more of a scout and a man who prefers to operate alone rather than in a team or to fight in open terrain (likely get that from a coupla my great-grandfathers and my frontier ancestors). I think like a guerrilla, like a scout, like a recon-man. Like an infiltrator.

Anyway, the long knife and the warhammer is me. Made for my nature.

You can do a lotta things with a good long knife and a warhammer and a multi-functional tool. I prefer that kinda thing.

Also, I really, really like tomahawks and hatchets.

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THE PIKE

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REVIEW OF THE CODEX MARTIALIS – GAMEPLAY

This is an older review I did for the Codex Martialis, a role-playing game supplement that heavily concentrates upon the way Real World weapons behave in actual combat. At least as closely as it is possible for imaginary games to truly emulate such weapon characteristics. That being said here is my review.

 

First of all, let me begin my review by saying that the Codex Martialis is simply one of the best-written gaming supplements I have ever read. It displays a high degree of professionalism in the effort.

As an example of this let me quote from the work itself:

Thanks to the unique weapon characteristics the choice of weapons becomes a major tactical consideration rather than a cosmetic adornment for a character. Weapons are not just rated for damage, but also for reach, defensive value, speed in follow-up attacks, effectiveness against armor and suitability for different types of attacks. The selection of weapons becomes another major aspect of the basic combat strategy.

I have now had the opportunity to read through the entire work and to play test it several times. What follows is my review.

One of the great advantages of the supplement, once you become familiar with the basic concepts involved, is fluidity. It creates a sort of underlying fluidity by imposing a substratum of combat techniques which, once mastered, allows fluidity by changing the outcomes of in-game combat scenarios from being merely an attrition play of hit points into a play of weapon mastery and combat employment techniques. This does take getting used to in comparison to standard D&D combat practices, but the outcome is well worth the effort. Once one becomes accustomed to the work then it is possible to use it to create and display a large variety of effective attack and counter-attack measures in rapid succession which gives the feel of an intense, hotly contested combat, rather than a mere stale exercise in die-rolling and numbers crunching “fight or flight of the calculators.” And I guess this is what I like best about the entire supplement, it is geared less to constricting combat into an imaginary “clash of the Geeky Die Titans,” where game combat is a boringly insipid mathematical exercise, and is instead designed to imply that combat is really about tactical skill, flexibility, fluidity (in the sense of moving fluidly from one applicable and effective technique or maneuver to another), training, and innovative use of resources, capabilities, and tactics. The supplement implies by both design and technique, that combat is far less about bonuses and more about training, thought, innovation, and adaptability. That combat is a matter of the mind as well of the body, of tactic as well as blind chance, and of skill in battle and not just habitual bonus accumulation. Or in other words even in a game in which certain elements are determined by mechanisms of tempered chance, by no better method than a “roll of the die” it is still skill, training, innovation, cleverness, and persistence that overcomes the seemingly impossible obstacles of a dangerous combat and wins the day before sunset. Die rolls may hinder, or assist, but they are no real match for skill and capability and brilliance in determining actual outcomes. A well trained man with a host of options and inherent capabilities will make his own luck, and he who relies merely upon the fickle grace of fortune would do well to learn that wisdom is a far greater god in combat than chance. Fortune favors the well-prepared man, and it is easy to be brave when you are sure of your own adaptability in any situation. The idea behind the Codex implies that the game combatant does not have to rely upon chance, luck, the die, or even magic to turn the tides of battle. The combatant may turn the tide of battle by skill, training, tactic, and cunning. And that is the way things are, and should be. Chance turns the tide of the moment, good tactics, on both the part of the group, and the part of the individual, turn the tide of the battle.

The degree of relative realism in the work is highly evolved given the natural limitations of role play gaming combat (which can be “only so-real”) and given the fact that most role play games resolve combat and tactical issues by emulating friction and chance through die roll. But one thing I really, really enjoy about this work is that given those natural limitations the Codex takes away much of the chance element and returns tactical skill to combat encounter as a measure of training, accomplishment, perseverance, and maneuver. In a manner of speaking the Codex is attempting to bring “Role-Play” to combat rather than saying it is just an exercise of chance, or a practice of powers.

The Codex Combat System can also be rather easily modified to fit most other gaming systems which rely upon die-rolling as a reflection of how to resolve combat practices, and the whole work interjects some very creative and interesting ideas for how to resolve the actual process of in-game combat elements. I refer to both the Martial Pool as a determination of how to enhance speed and flexibility to group combat, and to the various maneuver and practical engagement techniques such as the Martial Feats (I was particularly impressed by Feats such as Feint) that add a rich depth of combat possibilities. But to me the greatest strength of the entire work is that it takes combat away, whether this was the intention or not, from being merely an exercise in bootless chance and transforms combat into an interesting and varied practice in tactical choice, training, and personal player and character “fighting expression.”

The historical background presented within the work is also rather fascinating. A depth of historical material as well as pragmatic technique analogies are examined in detail, not as an historical work, but as reflective of how historical and real world elements of personal and tactical combat can be inter-woven into a fantasy game to create a far more rewarding experience than a mere combat re-enactment of, “magical boom-boom,” or “what power gives me the highest to-hit bonus.” In fact the supplement seems to purposely steer away from over reliance upon magic in game-combat fantasy tropes so as to intentionally explore the real potential of combat-fighters. It is not so much a work filled with trick maneuvers and rather unrealistic combat techniques that would be useless in an actual combat situation, but rather a thoughtful and measured examination of the “idea of real hand to hand combat as applied to a tactical wargaming paradigm.” A sort of well-imagined and cleverly constructed game interpretation of what really happens when men come to close quarters and grapple with each other, including aspects of why they move as they do, how they strike and defend as they do, why weapons behave as they do when yielded in such and such a manner, and so forth and so on. In short it is a well-conceived examination of both how to exploit trained character strengths and abilities, and of how to take advantage of built in limitations regarding the actualities of human (and by extension humanoid/non-human) weaponry and fighting capabilities in game combat situations.

To close my review let me briefly mention a few other points. Such as the Aescetics of the work. I especially liked the simple line drawings presented throughout the book. They matched the overall tone of the nature of the work, as well as allowing one to visualize basic points being discussed at issue. The illustrations matched the tone and atmosphere of the work as presenting realistic depictions of combat in game terms. They were “fitting” in my opinion. As were the historical references, which gave the work the feel of a more ancient text of advice about how to tactically overcome certain enemies. The references taken together with the various illustrations gave the entire Codex the feel of being “illuminated.”

Simplistically, but effectively.

The Appendixes were also valuable and useful, and much could be made of them in relation to the larger ideas presented in the Codex. The work even came with a Character Sheet specifically designed towards making good use of the various game combat advantages offered and described in the Codex.
As a suggestion for future works of this kind I would very much like to see the author and his team of co-designers develop a similar system for use in large-scale warfare, both on the tactical and strategic level. On the tactical level as an expression of maneuver and technique, similar in construction to the present work, but aimed more at small group combat and skirmishing encounters as applied to the battlefield. On the strategic level as a work that addresses matters of training, capability, and execution of large-scale group combat engagements. For instance in such a supplement geared to warfare-gaming, rather than to role play combat-gaming one might take the basic components and ideas of the Codex Martialis and expound upon them as they relate to issues such as logistics, technological advantage (due to armies possessing certain types of weapons, armor, and transport, and therefore possessing corresponding combat formations and techniques to accompany such advantages or disadvantages), tactical control of the battlefield (or lack thereof), terrain, unit and formation maneuver, espionage, morale, and so forth and so on. In other words I view the Codex Martialis as a sort of Gaming version of the Tacticon. I’d also suggest and would like to see a gaming version of the Strategicon.

If you would like more information on the Codex then I suggest purchasing the newest version of the work. There is also a good link on EN World where the author and others discuss various elements and implications of the work. That link can be found here: Martial Pool. I should also mention as a matter for those interested that the author has another brilliant thread dealing with historical matters and which can give one some idea of the research involved in developing the Codex. That other link can be found here: History, Mythology, Art.

I hope my review was useful to you.
Jack.

 

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-rules-discussion/241602-martial-pool-new-combat-mechanic.html

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/242110-history-mythology-art-rpgs.html

THE INDIAN FIGHTERS

What this country definitely needs is more “Indian Fighters.”

Do you know what I mean by Indian Fighters? I don’t mean people trained to fight Indians, I mean men and women (civilian and military) who are trained by Indians to fight like Indians. As occurred in the French and Indian Wars, and like with the early settlers.

We’ve lost the edge the Indians gave us. We’ve lost the things they taught us.

We need those things back. In a bad way. Especially nowadays.

We need to retrain ourselves as Indian Fighters. Both in the Real World and even in the practice of our games.

​What Tactical Tomahawks Are For And How To Use One

​What Tactical Tomahawks Are For And How To Use OneExpand

From the Native Americans to Vietnam War soldiers, the venerable Tomahawk is finding new favor in this era of asymmetric warfare and, well, with the guys who prepare for battle when they go camping. This is what they’re for and how you can actually find a use for one.

To find out, we talked with SOG Specialty Knives and Tools‘ Chris Cashbaugh, a decent left-handed tomahawk thrower. SOG and its products were inspired by the knives and tomahawks of MACV-SOG, a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit which conducted covert operations before and during the Vietnam War.

IndefinitelyWild: How does a tomahawk differ from an axe or hatchet?

Chris Cashbaugh: Typically, an axe or hatchet is not designed specifically for military or tactical uses. Axes excel at chopping, splitting, shaving and more, plus they can be used for many of the same chores as an edged tool. The handle or grip is typically more ergonomic in shape and sometimes offers multiple hand positions and an axe or its little brother, the hatchet, is typically heavier to help facilitate chopping. In many ways, axes and hatchets are designed for one activity — chopping — and they do it very well.

A tomahawk is going to be lighter. A ‘hawk is more useful for combat and the straight handle is ideal for releasing while throwing. It does good job at bushcraft operations and can handle some chopping, but it’s not designed like an axe for that one chore. They are fun to take into the wilderness and throwing ‘hawks is a real blast.

Also, they have a military/tactical look to them and a deep military history.

IW: Are they actually useful as a breaching tool for the military? Most guys I know say they typically use explosives and rams to “kick” down doors.

CC: In quick response situations they can be used to breach doors and windows. This is true in situations where there might be a fortified door or there isn’t enough time to setup an explosive charge. They are excellent tools for breaking glass — particularly using the spike — and they are small enough in the hand that they can get that job done quickly and in tight quarters.

IW: What uses do they have for soldiers beyond breaching?

CC: Tomahawks can be used for chopping, splitting, digging, prying or even cutting rope. Typically, anything that an edged tool can be used for, you can use a tomahawk for. It might not be the best option for any one of those jobs, but it will work in a pinch and it’s a tool that can do multiple jobs. That’s very beneficial to soldiers.

I guess, theoretically, they can be used in close-quarters combat, but that doesn’t figure into the design nor is it an expected uses.

They are also widely used for throwing at targets. If you’ve never done that, it’s a really fun way to pass the time if you’re sitting around base, waiting for your next patrol.

IW: When did the tomahawk first find popularity with modern soldiers and how has it evolved to suit there needs?

CC: Tomahawks, or some version of them, have been popular with the military since the 18th century and were used by both sides of the American Revolution. Robert’s Rangers, the story goes, used them in the French and Indian War, which is neat when you consider the name is a version of an Algonquin word for a stone-headed tool of the same shape.

During the Revolution, tomahawks were valued for their versatility in wilderness tasks and effectiveness as a close-quarters weapon. As modern firearms increased in reliability, the need for a close quarters weapon wained. Then, in the mid-1960s, there was a rise in popularity for them among American troops in the Vietnam War. The MACV-SOG group, from which SOG Knives takes its name, had a version of the tomahawk, which are valuable collector’s items today.

They have seen a big surge in popularity with the military and general population over the last 10 years, due to introductions of new designs and the unique needs of current urban battles. The biggest evolution in the tomahawk has been the transition from natural handles like wood to more modern, advanced materials like glass-reinforced nylon, composites and metals that make them both lighter and stronger.

​What Tactical Tomahawks Are For And How To Use One

VARDHLLOKUR

This is a film made by Jake Powning. It was included as part of Reclaiming the Blade.

If you have never seen Reclaiming the Blade then I highly recommend it.

Forging Vardhllokur

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