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Old 02-03-2019, 01:52 AM   #1
David Johnston2
 
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Default Dwarves and Axes

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Would dwarves in a low-magic fantasy setting really use axes? Wouldn't their height impede their effectiveness?
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Answered Oct 8
Well it’s worth bearing in mind the reason why dwarves are depicted with axes. Part of it is that longer-hafted weapons may have a reach advantage but they’re awkward in tight quarters like underground tunnels. Dwarves really have no business out in the open battlefield. Another part of it is that while elves represent nobles and hunters, dwarves represent craftsmen and miners so their stereotypical weapons are actually weaponized tools, so…hammers, picks and axes. The axes come in because if they didn’t have coal deposits handy, their only option is go up and chop some wood to fuel their forges like the human blacksmiths who were their inspiration. Therefore most of the time on the surface most of their fighting will be done with axes, not because they’re what’s most effective but because they’re what’s most handy.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

I agree. Weapons for mythical creatures are generally thematic not logically optimized for warfare or biology.

Shadiverstiy on Youtube has some videos on what weapons fit certain mythical creatures.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=cDt_tIcca-k

I'm not sure I agree with all his conclusions, but they are food for thought.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:42 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

I also have generally thought that their combination of increased strength and endurance counteracted the axe's main downside of weight.
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Old 02-03-2019, 12:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

I've always found swinging weapons a strange idea for fighting underground - logically I'd expect dwarves to go armed like Roman legionaries: shields to block the passage and some kind of stabbing weapon to thrust around them.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

Did Tolkien ever go into why the Khazad prefer axes?
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Old 02-04-2019, 07:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

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I've always found swinging weapons a strange idea for fighting underground - logically I'd expect dwarves to go armed like Roman legionaries: shields to block the passage and some kind of stabbing weapon to thrust around them.

Yep. narrow passages call for long thrusting weapons, not short chopping ones. You can use a polearm with an appropriate head if you really want to keep the "axe" element.



I also thing that dwarf-tunnel fighters should carry around portable fortifications they can fight behind.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

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Yep. narrow passages call for long thrusting weapons,
Narrow passages with low ceilings and sharp bends call for _short_ thrusting weapons.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Narrow passages with low ceilings and sharp bends call for _short_ thrusting weapons.
And now, for some reason, I'm picturing Dwarves as Zulus...
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

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And now, for some reason, I'm picturing Dwarves as Zulus...
"A dwarvern regiment can tunnel ... tunnel! Twenty miles - and then fight a battle at the end of it!".
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:44 PM   #10
DouglasCole
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Default Re: Dwarves and Axes

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Yep. narrow passages call for long thrusting weapons, not short chopping ones. You can use a polearm with an appropriate head if you really want to keep the "axe" element.

I also thing that dwarf-tunnel fighters should carry around portable fortifications they can fight behind.
You can do a very nasty thrust with a typical dane axe. That's definitely best modeled as a dueling halberd or pollaxe, though.
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